Celtics Question of the Day: Which big men will get the most time off the bench?

Celtics Question of the Day: Which big men will get the most time off the bench?
September 17, 2012, 2:23 pm
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For all that has gone well for the Boston Celtics in recent years, rebounding has been a constant issue. The C's have been either the worst or second-worst rebounding team each of the last three seasons.

Shaquille O'Neal. Jermaine O'Neal. Rasheed Wallace. No matter who the C's trotted in to bolster their frontline, nothing has worked rebounding-wise with any level of consistency.

Will this season be any different?

The Celtics certainly hope so with the additions to their lineup that will enter training camp vying for a spot in the team's big man rotation. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass will be Boston's starting center and power forward, respectively. So in terms of bigs who will play, we know they're in.

Beyond that it gets pretty interesting.

During the regular season, C's coach Doc Rivers will likely go 10-deep most nights. Even if Boston plays a lot more small-ball lineups, you can count on the Celtics using at least two big men off the bench.

All indications are that rookie Jared Sullinger will be in the rotation at both power forward and at times, center.

That leaves Chris Wilcox, Fab Melo and Jason Collins vying for what may be one spot in the C's regular big man rotation. Of that trio, look for Wilcox to win out at the start of the season.

His experience, familiarity with what head coach Doc Rivers expects and his overall talent, will give him a decisive edge over Melo initially.

But there will come a time when Melo's shot-blocking prowess will help the C's win a game or two. That will pave the way for the rookie to showcase other parts of his game that will likely cut into Wilcox's role.

As for Collins, it's unlikely he'll see much playing time this season.

His experience and defense-first mentality make him an ideal "situational" player who may see his role expanded against players like Andrew Bynum of Philadelphia or Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers.