Almost six years since the Big Three Era began, the once formidable Celtics team is no longer a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. The team that once dominated games against many teams now finds itself losing to the most inferior teams the league has to offer. The stars known as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have aged, but can still play, yet they aren’t winning. The team that was supposed to be so deep, adding role players like Jason Terry and Courtney Lee is getting no production off the bench and the starters are expected to carry most of the load with little to no support. What hurts the most watching this team struggle, Pierce and KG can no longer carry this team night in and night out like they once did.
The easy answer is to make trades, but there are not many options out there that would allow the Celtics to keep their core group together. Besides changing up the roster there are a few things that Boston can do to preserve and keep the veterans legs fresh. But is it too late? No matter how many lineup changes Doc Rivers makes, the Celtics fail to play at their best. Not one lineup has been effective enough to be the main group that gets the team victories. So, what can the team do right now to get back on the right track without making a single trade?
Doc Rivers should seriously consider starting Jeff Green over Paul Pierce. I understand that Green has underperformed and has not met the expectations Celtics fans had for him, but in the final analysis it helps Pierce minimize his playing time. Tuesday night was a prime example. Near the end of the game, Pierce could not get a shot to fall or take over the game like Celtics fans are accustomed to seeing. If Boston can limit his playing time like they did with KG last season, both the team and Pierce would benefit tremendously.
I’d also be willing to play Courtney Lee with Avery Bradley more. When they’ve played together, both Lee and Bradley were at the top of their games. The fast break was effective and their defense shut down the opponents backcourt. They seem to feed off each other’s energy and Courtney Lee looks more comfortable when Bradley is on the court at the same time.
At the end of the day, the Celtics aren’t winning. The offense is not aggressive and has been the biggest problem as of late. Boston doesn’t take the ball to the hoop and instead takes ill-advised jump shots.
Danny Ainge has big decisions to make in the upcoming weeks. It’s obvious this team is struggling, and after trying everything from threats of roster changes to lineup changes, nothing has worked. If something isn’t done soon, we’re looking into a dark abyss because I haven’t seen anything in the first 42 games to make me think there is any light at the end of the tunnel.