Big impact: Stevens likes Sullinger, Olynyk starting

Big impact: Stevens likes Sullinger, Olynyk starting
November 21, 2013, 1:00 pm
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BOSTON — The future appears to be now for the Boston Celtics as they throw two of their more promising young big men, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, into the starting lineup.

While there's no way to know for sure if the two will start Friday's game against Indiana, head coach Brad Stevens liked a lot of what he saw from the duo in Wednesday's 104-93 loss at San Antonio.

"It was good," said Stevens, in describing his rookie (Olynyk) and second-year forward (Sullinger) with the first unit.

Olynyk had eight points on 2-for-9 shooting with many of his misses being open or lightly contested shots. He also grabbed eight rebounds and had three assists.

But Olynyk's numbers don't necessarily show what kind of impact he has on games for Boston, whether it's getting his hands on loose balls or being in the right place to contest a shot or provide help-defense at the right time.

"Kelly does so many things for us that go unnoticed," said Stevens.

The same cannot be said for Sullinger whose play of late has been too good to ignore. In his last two games, he has averaged 14.5 points and 13 rebounds which includes a career-high 17 rebounds against the Spurs.

"You can run a lot of stuff through them," Stevens said. "You can make them a passer. You can run action top of the key and let them facilitate from there. They can see a lot of things around them."

Having them start also strengthens the Celtics bench, allowing a player like Brandon Bass an opportunity to have a potentially more favorable matchup as a reserve compared to being a starter.

Stevens used Bass at times against San Antonio to defend some of the Spurs' perimeter players which created the possibility for Boston to have some post-up action with Bass being guarded by someone other than a 6-foot-10 big man.

"It was overall, a positive," Stevens said.

As far as this being a lineup the Celtics will stick with going forward, Stevens left the door open that another lineup change may still be on the horizon for Boston.

"It was the right thing to do," Stevens said of the lineup change. "But I don't know that we're done tweaking."