The Boston Celtics front court rotation is total chaos right now
The Boston Celtics have been in transition all season long, and that should surprise no one. They are one of the youngest teams in the league, with multiple rookies playing crucial roles, and that was after one of the most remarkable roster turnovers in the history of this game.
Add on that Brad Stevens is known to have a lot of creative lineups, and explore as many options as possible, and we probably could have seen this kind of front court chaos coming. In fact, things have probably been better than most expected, even if Al Horford is the lone established role in the front court.
The starting lineup continues to change between Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris, depending on matchups. Sometimes it is Daniel Theis coming off the bench first, then other games it will be Semi Ojeleye. Throw in Greg Monroe as the team is struggling, and nothing can be taken for granted in the front court rotation right now.
Another problem for the Celtics front court rotation right now is Marcus Smart. Obviously, he is not a front court player, but his defense impacts them every time. The Celtics have all kinds of undersized bigs, and they need their wings and guards to make up for it.
More from Hardwood Houdini
It is a lot easier for Theis to have his best impact on defense, with Smart out there using his versatility to make up for the size problem elsewhere. We see how great their defense can be with Baynes next to Horford, but they cannot hold back their offense anymore than they already are.
Stevens is asking quite a bit from these front court players, and none of it is easy. They need to be comfortable guarding players that are bigger and potentially stronger, and they need to bring floor spacing. When everything works for the Celtics, it is deadly, because they are an elite defense with shooters at every position.
If, however, Theis or Ojeleye are not able to get their shot going, then the added defensive strain is not going to be worth it. If they are not able to hold their own on defense, then they will have to do too much on offense to have a great impact.
There is a difficult balance that the Celtics are searching for with their front court, and that is a near impossible task when you have almost no experience in difficult positions. The Celtics see the potential with the pieces they have, but they need time to grow and that is forcing Stevens to try all kinds of different things as they work through the problems.
The good part is that there are things the Celtics like with all these players. Ojeleye has shown that he has the strength to take on some of the strongest bigs in the NBA, while having those flashes of solid three point shooting. Theis comes out with all kinds of energy, making winning plays on a regular basis. He is a solid rebounder and could emerge as one of the more trusted shooters on that second unit.
Morris brings that great spark offensively, and Baynes has been as sound as anyone in the league on defense. Monroe also has an opportunity to come in and help take some of the traditional big responsibilities off of Baynes.
The Celtics know they have front court options for everything they want to do, we just have not seen everything come together in an ideal way yet. Stevens still has plenty of time, so I would not expect the front court rotation to settle any time soon.
It would be unfair to expect these young pieces to just come together and work exactly as they need to, but the more different looks Stevens get with these front court players, the better idea he will have of what will work best come playoff time.
It will lead to struggles, but the regular season is where Stevens will sacrifice the immediate results, to try out these different rotations. The Celtics have more to learn about their team than any other top potential contender right now, and the most questions are in the front court.
It might be frustrating to see the Celtics struggle with combinations that do not work, but the more options Stevens explores right now, the less he will have to use in the playoffs, when they cannot afford to have this kind of chaos in the rotation.