Celtics Question of the Day: Who will be the go-to guy on C's bench?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Who will be the go-to guy on C's bench?

One of the reasons the Boston Celtics are still on the short list of title contenders is that their bench was significantly bolstered during the offseason.

So much so that when it comes to figuring out who will deliver big among the second unit players, the list of candidates is as deep as we've seen under Doc Rivers.

The safe bet would be to go with Jason Terry, who will reprise a role in Boston that's identical to the one he had - and thrived in - with the Dallas Mavericks.

But the difference-maker for the Celtics this year off the bench will be Courtney Lee. He will begin the season starting in place of an injured Avery Bradley, but Lee understands that his primary role for the C's will be coming off the bench.

And it is a role that Lee should thrive in.

His versatility allows him to play in the backcourt and not be a defensive liability. At his size, he has the length to guard both backcourt positions which should take some of the pressure off of Rajon Rondo or whoever is running the point at that time.

Lee has shot 40-percent or better in three of his four NBA seasons, which includes him shooting 48.5 percent on corner 3s which ranked among the league's best. In addition, his best 3-point shooting quarter last season?

That would be the fourth quarter which is a good thing when you consider the player he is helping the C's move on from - Ray Allen - was often at his best in the final period of play.

Lee will also benefit from a C's squad that will look to run more than they have in the past, which will inevitably result in greater use of the small-ball lineup we saw at times last season. That could result in Lee playing more minutes, possibly at small forward depending on which players their opponents trot on to the floor.

Having that versatility is what gives him an edge in terms of potential minutes over Terry who can play both backcourt positions.

While Lee has quietly gone about establishing himself as a better-than-average 3-point shooter, he's no stranger to attacking the basket. Last season, 32.6 percent of his shots were in the paint or the restricted area which is bump in comparison to former Celtic Ray Allen who took 25.2 percent of his shots from that distance.

So in Lee the Celtics have a player who attacks the rim more, has a steady 3-point shot and gives them some options in terms of what they can do defensively.

And being a "young veteran," Lee (he turns 27 next month) understands that his role will fluctuate between that of a part-time starter and that of a key reserve.

But when all is said and done, the latter is the best role for both Lee and the Celtics moving forward.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”