Last season down the stretch, Boston went small more and more often, using Jae Crowder as a four. Small ball works (see the NBA champs) and the league is trending that way.
But Brad Stevens may have his Celtics working against the grain this season. Or at least he’s going to explore it.
With the additions of Amir Johnson and David Lee to go with Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk, Stevens has options. He told Jay King of MassLive.com that he’s going to experiment a little.
This is the smart move to make — you have to adjust your system to the players, not go Mike D’Antoni and try to jam square pegs into round holes. (He eventually adjusted some with the Lakers, but not until it was too late.)
Plus, going against the grain can often be successful.
Small ball works — if you have the right players to execute it. Golden State went small but thanks to Draymond Green their defense didn’t suffer. Miami’s defense was quite good with Bosh as a center when they were winning. But those two teams have elite talent, and teams that do it and don’t have the talent can be exposed.
Meanwhile, guys like Lee, Jared Sullinger, Zeller, Olynyk, and crew could feast on small lineups. Stevens is smart enough to figure out what works best.
There are high hopes for the Canadian national team at FIBA Americas, which is a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Canada has qualified for just one of the last six Olympics (they finished seventh in 2000), but with an improved roster that includes Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, and six other NBA players, they are a team on the rise. And hope north of the border is rising with them.
One of those NBA guys is the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, but he tweaked his knee against Argentina. Olynyk sat out the next game, but the coach said not to worry.
Jay Triano said that again on Wednesday, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
FIBA Americas starts Aug. 31; Canada opens the next day against Argentina (which is without Manu Ginobili).
This is good news for the Celtics and Olynyk as well.
Boston is loaded at the four — Jared Sullinger, David Lee, Jordan Mickey, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder — all can get some run at that slot. Any setback for Olynyk is not good, but this seems to be a minor one.
Kelly Olynyk faces plenty of competition for playing time this season. Jared Sullinger, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Mickey, Jonas Jerebko, Perry Jones III, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder could all see minutes at power forward.
So, even the smallest setback could put Olynyk behind the eight ball with the Celtics.
It seems that’s what Olynyk faces after playing for Canada in an FIBA Americas tuneup against Argentina.
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:
Olynyk returning to the bench seems positive, but it’d be reassuring to hear an official diagnosis.