The Too Early Playoff Rotation Thread

JakeRae

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Jul 21, 2005
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This topic is kind of a looming background to a lot of the Celtics conversation here so I thought it deserves its own thread. I considered making this a poll, but I think there are too many scenarios for a poll to do a good job of capturing. There are a few operative questions though:

  1. How many players should be in the playoff rotation?
  2. Who should be in the playoff rotation?
  3. Who should ride the bench or at best get spot minutes in the playoffs?
The Celtics currently play 11 guys with some consistency, plus Williams occasionally. I think we all expect Williams and Semi to see only very occasional minutes, if any, in the playoffs. That leaves 10 guys to compete for rotation minutes.

I think there are five guys where this forum has a consensus view should be playing 30+ MPG in the playoffs, some of whom should obviously play 35+ but I’m leaving that to the side for now. Those guys are Irving, Horford, Tatum, Smart, and Brown.

The only one of these players who isn’t currently being used in that role is Brown. I don’t understand why Morris continues to play more than Brown and find it concerning.

The next 5 guys break down into 3 categories:

Bigs: Baynes and Theis. I expect Baynes to play about 15 mpg in the playoffs, somewhat matchup dependent. I think Theis probably doesn’t play unless Baynes is creating matchup problems and then would take most of Baynes minutes.

Wings: Morris and Hayward. I still hope we’ll see a significant cut to Morris’ minutes to the benefit of Brown and to facilitate keeping Hayward on the court as the other core players see their minutes increased. I think there’s no world where either of these guys is healthy and not in the rotation, so it’s really a minutes question. Right now, Brad continues to give Morris big minutes, so there’s every reason to expect that to continue even though many of us probably hope otherwise.

Rozier: all signs point to a significant scaling back of Roziers minutes. I’m increasingly expecting him to only play spot minutes in the playoffs and to not be in the rotation. He’s done nothing since last year to earn a rotation slot, and between Irving, Smart, and Hayward they really don’t need another player to run the offense.

Benching Rozier and Theis gets us down to 8 guys in the rotation, which is a good number, but will we see Brad keep distributing minutes somewhat evenly across everyone except Baynes or will we see some combination of Hayward, Morris, and Brown take a minutes hit? Will Brad cut the minutes of the right guys?
 

lovegtm

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Apr 30, 2013
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This topic is kind of a looming background to a lot of the Celtics conversation here so I thought it deserves its own thread. I considered making this a poll, but I think there are too many scenarios for a poll to do a good job of capturing. There are a few operative questions though:

  1. How many players should be in the playoff rotation?
  2. Who should be in the playoff rotation?
  3. Who should ride the bench or at best get spot minutes in the playoffs?
The Celtics currently play 11 guys with some consistency, plus Williams occasionally. I think we all expect Williams and Semi to see only very occasional minutes, if any, in the playoffs. That leaves 10 guys to compete for rotation minutes.

I think there are five guys where this forum has a consensus view should be playing 30+ MPG in the playoffs, some of whom should obviously play 35+ but I’m leaving that to the side for now. Those guys are Irving, Horford, Tatum, Smart, and Brown.

The only one of these players who isn’t currently being used in that role is Brown. I don’t understand why Morris continues to play more than Brown and find it concerning.

The next 5 guys break down into 3 categories:

Bigs: Baynes and Theis. I expect Baynes to play about 15 mpg in the playoffs, somewhat matchup dependent. I think Theis probably doesn’t play unless Baynes is creating matchup problems and then would take most of Baynes minutes.

Wings: Morris and Hayward. I still hope we’ll see a significant cut to Morris’ minutes to the benefit of Brown and to facilitate keeping Hayward on the court as the other core players see their minutes increased. I think there’s no world where either of these guys is healthy and not in the rotation, so it’s really a minutes question. Right now, Brad continues to give Morris big minutes, so there’s every reason to expect that to continue even though many of us probably hope otherwise.

Rozier: all signs point to a significant scaling back of Roziers minutes. I’m increasingly expecting him to only play spot minutes in the playoffs and to not be in the rotation. He’s done nothing since last year to earn a rotation slot, and between Irving, Smart, and Hayward they really don’t need another player to run the offense.

Benching Rozier and Theis gets us down to 8 guys in the rotation, which is a good number, but will we see Brad keep distributing minutes somewhat evenly across everyone except Baynes or will we see some combination of Hayward, Morris, and Brown take a minutes hit? Will Brad cut the minutes of the right guys?
I don’t have much to add to your post: it’s very comprehensive, and I have the same questions/opinions.

Here’s my only nagging question: what does Brad see in Morris? Brad Stevens presumably likes winning basketball games, and it seems clear that Morris is a liability on defense relative to Brown, and doesn’t provide a huge boost on offense when the 3 isn’t falling. But Brad must see something there, or he wouldn’t keep using him this much.

Can someone make the case for Marcus Morris? The coaching staff clearly still thinks there’s something quite valuable there, which they don’t seem to with Rozier.
 

RedOctober3829

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Jul 19, 2005
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deep inside Guido territory
Starters: Kyrie, Smart, Tatum, Morris, Horford
Bench: Brown, Hayward, Baynes, Theis, Rozier(Semi depending on the opponent)

I think the core we'll see is the starting 5 plus Brown/Hayward/Baynes. Theis may get minutes depending on foul trouble. Rozier's minutes should get cut down due to the fact that if Kyrie goes out that Hayward and Smart can facilitate the offense as well as Horford. Semi will see a role if they play Milwaukee.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
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Nov 2, 2007
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Can someone make the case for Marcus Morris? The coaching staff clearly still thinks there’s something quite valuable there, which they don’t seem to with Rozier.
I can't make a case for Mook. Maybe CBS trusts MaMo more because he is a veteran? IDK, just guessing.
JB had a tough first 8 weeks this season (I was very critical), but didn't it come out that he had a hand injury? Jaylen has been great for months now. Brown not playing 30 minutes today, with Hayward out, is beyond bazaar. CBS has told us numerous times over the years that it doesn't matter who starts, the minutes will go to who is playing the best but that's not how its played out this season. For what its worth our defense hasn't been stout the last 3 games, hopefully, they'll go to the video replay and notice where the weak link is.

JakeRae with a good recap. My adds:
1. Agree with Jake and would like to see Rozier shelved, but expect Brad will play Terry 15mpg.
2. I'd especially like to not see Rozier and Kyrie paired up. I expect the pace to slow in the playoffs. So I'd like to see the team play bigger with an emphasis on defense.
3. I'd like to see Al play at least 10-12 minutes at the 4 alongside Baynes at the 5. We definitely won't see that.
4. I'd like to see Jaylen play more minutes than MaMo, not sure CBS will do that.

NOTE: every playoff series will be different due to the opponent & matchups. Maybe we should table this discussion until we know our first round match up?
 

JakeRae

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Jul 21, 2005
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New York, NY
NOTE: every playoff series will be different due to the opponent & matchups. Maybe we should table this discussion until we know our first round match up?
First, I see no reason to put off a discussion now because we will have more information later that will help us further develop that discussion. It’s late enough in the season that it’s time to start figuring out what we will look like as a playoff team. Plus, this is a discussion board.

Second, I actually don’t agree with the premise that matchups will díctate much this postseason from a rotation standpoint. The roster is designed to be flexible and not matchup dependent and the biggest playing time decision is how to apportion minutes among the 4 wings in the rotation. The only decision for the roster where I think matchups have the potential to impact decision making is the backup big issue. Theis and Baynes have the potential to swap in and out of the rotation based on matchups.

Third,
I don’t see a significant role for Semi against Milwaukee, contrary to RedOctober. I was a big proponent of using Semi in that series a year ago, but that was with a much shallower roster. Those minutes came primarily from Larkin and Monroe and Yabusele. That’s not this year’s team. Even Semi’s best matchup situation doesn’t mean he should take minutes from our other wings. He’s just not good enough for any matchup advantage to make up for his skill gap.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
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Over the last 8 games, Jaylen Brown had more minutes than Morris in 4 of them. Breaking down the 4 where Morris got more minutes:

Wizards: Morris had 45 more seconds of playing time than Brown. JB had a horrific 4-13 shooting line (1 for 6 from 3) while Morris had 17 points despite his own struggles from deep (3-11).

Kings #1: Brown really didn't do much in his 23 minutes while Morris had an efficient 19 points in 33 minutes.

Lakers: Brown was 3-12, while Morris had a strong game (16 points and +11).

Kings #2: Morris (35) got 4 more minutes than Brown (31). Both had strong games offensively, while Morris grabbed 13 boards. And Hayward got hurt early on which forced Stevens to modify the rotations anyway.

It's clear to me that Stevens will play whomever is playing better between Brown and Morris, a decision that will also be dictated by matchups. Morris is not going to suddenly get stapled to the bench for 44 minutes a game come playoff time, and neither is Rozier.