Celtics Question of the Day: Bass or Green as starting PF?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Bass or Green as starting PF?

With a relatively tried and true roster that has reaped the spoils of victory for years, not a whole lot of lineup shuffling has gone on with the Boston Celtics in recent years.

But that's about to change in a big way this season.

For the first time in many years, there will be competition - lots of it - for something other than a spot in the rotation. Boston comes into this season with only three players - Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - assured of starting.

And of all the camp battles, none will be more intriguing than the fight between Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to see who will start at power forward.

While both will certainly play a major role in the C's success this season, look for Bass to get the nod when all is said and done. He is the incumbent, but that has little to do with him remaining with the first unit.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers loved the idea of having Bass come off the bench, well aware that his ability to score on pick-and-pops caused major problems for opponents. However, injuries and inconsistent play left Rivers little choice but to toss Bass into the starting lineup.

It was an adjustment for all involved, raising questions and concerns about whether the 6-foot-8 forward could produce at a similar clip that he had while coming off the bench.

As a reserve in 20 games for Boston, Bass averaged a solid 11.8 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds while shooting 49.3 percent from the field.

Bass, affectionately nicknamed 'No Pass' Bass, continued to deliver at a similar level with the increased role and with it, more playing time (33.7 minutes compared to 27.9 coming off the bench).

But the number Boston and Bass cared about most - wins - was at the heart of why he's likely to remain a starter.

It took a while, but the C's finally figured out not only how to play with Bass in the starting lineup, but how to win.

As a starter, the C's were 26-13 with Bass. When he came off the bench, they were just 11-9. Those factors alone give Bass and edge over Green heading into training camp.

But when you throw in the fact that the Celtics are likely to try and ease Green back into the flow of things after he missed all of last season following surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, putting him in with the first group seems a bit much after so much time off from the game.

Still, Green's ability to run the floor gives him a chance to get some easy points in transition which would make Rajon Rondo's job a lot easier and potentially open things up even more for Garnett and Pierce.

And at 6-9, his size and versatility can also benefit the Celtics defensively at times as well.

Bass.

Green.

It will indeed be among the many issues to be sorted out when training camp begins later this month.

However, considering all the challenges that the C's had to contend with last season, this is a good problem to have.

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."