Most of the questions concerning the Celtics this season center around the bench. The Celtics gave up a lot to get Kevin Garnett and ever since that trade, there have been questions as to whether this team has enough behind the New Three to contend for the title. Some feel that the drop off in talent is considerable once the starters sit down and others feel that we have enough veterans on the bench to compete with the other benches.
The RealGM Raptors site had an article rating the Atlantic Division benches and the Celtics Bench was rated F while they gave the Raptors an A, the Knicks a B+, the Nets a B and the Sixers a D. I find it hard to believe that the Celtics bench is that much worse than the other benches in the Atlantic Division.
The Enterprise and Celtics.com both have articles about the Celtics bench and both give reasons to be positive although there are questions that need to be answered.
The questions come at the point guard and center positions. Behind Rajon Rondo, there are Eddie House, Tony Allen and Gabe Pruitt. Neither House nor Allen are true points and Pruitt is a rookie. House is a natural shooting guard and Doc has as much as said that House won't be playing the point much since they are depending on his offense and his offense suffers when he has to run the team. That leaves Tony Allen playing the point and if you have watched Tony dribble very much, you know that it is a scary sight at times. Of course, Doc has said that he will keep two of the 3 stars on the floor most of the time and Ray Allen can play the point while Rajon is resting. Of course, there is always the possibility that Gabe Pruitt will develop quicker than anticipated and be able to back up Rondo for the playoffs.
But while neither House nor Allen is considered a "natural" point guard, Rivers isn't concerned about any deficiency, perceived or otherwise, at the backup point guard spot. "Between Tony and Eddie, they're going to be fine. We'll make it work," Rivers said. "I don't have a point guard oriented offense. Literally, their job is to get the offense started, not to run the offense, and that's the big difference."
The other question mark is the back up center position. Scot Pollard should be able to give Perk a rest on the bench and give us a defensive presence in the paint. If he can stay healthy, he should be an adequate back up. But, he has a history of injuries and so it isn't clear how much he will play this season. He already missed the preseason but is ready to play in the opener for the first time. Other than Pollard, we have Leon Powe and Big Baby Davis who are undersized to play center but both play with passion and energy and may be able to give us 10 minutes per game or so. The other option would be for KG to slide over to center, which he doesn't much care for. I think this is the position I am most concerned about. We have one spot left on the roster and hopefully they can sign a veteran center to give us more depth at this spot.
As for the other positions, as has been said, we have Tony Allen, and Eddie House at shooting guard. Both are capable of giving us offense off the bench. The question here is how quickly Tony can come back from his knee injury to get back to his pre-injury level of play.
At small forward, we have James Posey and Brandon Wallace. Posey was a very key signing. He is a defensive presence for us and can also hit the three to give us some offense. He also has Finals experience and a Championship ring that will be key once the Celtics make the playoffs and put the push on for the championship. Brandon Wallace may see time in the D-League and is more for the future than this season.
The power forward position is probably our strongest with Leon Powe and Big Baby coming off the bench. Both can defend the paint and rebound along with getting some offense around the basket. Scal can play both the small forward and power forward positions for more versatility.
“I think we have a strong bench,” said Posey. “Our advantage is that we go against the Big 3, the starting five, every day and we compete. We compete hard, we beat them, they beat us.
“We beat them two days in a row, and then they come back and beat us.
There's that competitiveness, and we'll have that coming off the bench. We have guys who can put the ball in the hole. The bottom line is accepting your role and doing the best you can.”
With defensive stoppers Posey and Tony Allen and Scot Pollard and Leon Powe to control the paint along with instant offense from Eddie House, our bench should be able to hold its own. We have veterans on the bench who know their roles and who know how to play. The bottom line is going to be how quickly this team can build the chemistry necessary to play against teams like Detroit that have been together for years. If they don't, it may be another long season.