NBA Roundtable

Start Scalabrine

In General NBA on January 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

Two Reasons

Team Defense + Mobility/Quickness

The Celtics have frequently been at a quickness disadvantage at the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions over the past few weeks. The problem has been further exacerbated by playing a slow footed defender in place of Kevin Garnett.

The result has seen a major decline in the Celtics power forwards, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis, ability to (1) adequately cover the pick and roll (2) to make timely defensive rotations to beat the penetration to the spot (3) to recover after the first rotation, or hedging on screen and roll, to get back in time to contest their own player’s shot or in closing out shooters after quality ball movement.

Brian Scalabrine is a very good team defender. It’s his best asset. He is a very good position defender who makes excellent defensive rotations due to his awareness and quick responses. He covers the pick and roll well. And, he is a solid one-on-one defender against those athletic + perimeter orientated power forwards.

Brian Scalabrine serves as a glue guy defensively for the Celtics starting unit. His superior mobility + high quality team defense are a perfect match for the brute strength and interior defense of Kendrick Perkins. His pick and roll defense helps keep the ball in front of the defense leading to more contested jump shots. He doubles the post extremely well when necessary and covers angles well on penetration, and is capable of drawing charges.

If the Celtics decided to start Scalabrine instead of one of their slow footed options at power forward in Kevin Garnett’s absence, their defensive performance would improve and so too would their record.

Furthermore, Scalabrine is a far more effective player alongside the starters than in the second unit. His offensive game is limited, he’s strictly a finisher, a player who needs to play off of others. He needs his teammates to create his shot attempts and he needs teammates who are willing + capable of taking the overwhelming majority of the shot attempts to reduce his offensive responsibilities.

The Bench

Eddie House + Tony Allen + Glen Davis + either Scalabrine or Shelden Williams

Currently, with Rasheed starting and Daniels injured, that is the Celtics bench. It’s a very weak group and it hurts the Celtics rhythm considerably.

Boston will be much better off with Rasheed Wallace returning to the second unit and playing extended minutes from there than with Scalabrine. Wallace gives those players a reliable contributor. A defensive anchor, when he’s playing the center position, and a go-to + steadying option offensively.

He gives the bench a real leader and someone to play off of.

The Celtics haven’t been able to string together 48 consistent minutes of effort + focus and their bench has been one of the main causes. Giving the bench a boost in quality will help Boston’s consistency during games.

Summary

Starting Brian Scalabrine helps improve

  • The Celtics defense due to his superior mobility, quickness, and team defense
  • The Celtics bench because Rasheed Wallace returns to his sixth man role and anchors the second unit effectively.
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