If you haven’t heard by now, earlier today we learned that Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce is expected to miss at least two weeks. This news is heart breaking considering that we are headed into the biggest game of the season so far on Friday against Orlando. Instead of sitting here and depressing myself thinking about life without Pierce, I instead am trying to look at what options we have now that Pierce is not available.
There are multiple scenarios that we could see in the coming weeks, Doc Rivers will really have to earn his paycheck trying to figure out what rotations will work the best with the absence of Pierce.
The first option that I came up with is starting Tony Allen in the place of Pierce. We have all been impressed with Tony’s performance since he returned and he is the only option with quality starting experience. Tony also could bring a lot of hustle and defensive power to the starting lineup. This could be exactly what we need on Christmas day against the Magic. He would most likely be matched up with Mickael Pietrus and would be responsible for containing Pietrus’ production from behind the arc. Using Tony Allen in the starting lineup would make the most sense for the Celtics defensively.
So what other options does Doc have? Well Eddie House is another name that will be thrown out there a lot. We all know what Eddie brings to the team. He is a shooter and would most likely slip into the shooting guard spot, while Ray Allen moves to the small forward position. Is that what we need in the starting lineup? I don’t think it is, after all we do have Ray Allen.
It would be a much better choice to continue having Eddie come off the bench as a role player, maybe with a slight increase in his minutes to make up for the 30-35 minutes we usually see from Pierce. Is it a possibility we see Eddie in the starting lineup? Of course it is a possibility with his veteran experience he brings, but it is very unlikely that Doc will resort to this option.
Then comes the red head. The guy we know as Brian Scal-A-Bree-Ne. The guy that has always seemed to step it up when given the starters role. Scal is one of those guys that never seems to get worked up in any type of situation. He brings experience, a high basketball IQ and an occasional three pointer or two, or three. The one problem with putting Scal into the lineup at the small forward position is his inability to match the speed of the other small forwards in the league.
Lets use the Magic game for example, he would be responsible for guarding either Mickael Pietrus or Vince Carter. More than likely both of these guys could beat Scal off the dribble nine times out of ten. If we want to win games this can not be happening. I think that Scal will see increased minutes with Pierce going down, but I don’t expect him to be the man replacing Pierce in the starting lineup.
Those three players mentioned above are the players that could fill Pierce’s spot in the starting lineup. There is also a few players who could see increased playing time off the bench in the absence of Pierce. That list is composed mainly of Bill Walker and J.R Giddens. Both of these guys are young and just waiting for the opportunity to shine on the big stage. Earlier today I questioned why the Celtics brought up Bill Walker from the Maine Red Claws. After hearing the news about Pierce I now know why he was recalled, and am glad to hear that Walker will be getting some time playing with the “big boys”.
In all reality it will be very difficult, and nearly impossible, for any one of these guys to single-handedly for the loss of Pierce. It will need to be a full team effort and all the players mentioned are going to have to step it up if the Celtics plan to continue winning without the captain, and the truth, Paul Pierce.
In other news, Kevin Garnett is a game-time decision for Friday’s game at Orlando. Please god, for the sake of my health, let KG play in this game.