Rondo played well against the Wizards, he tried to carry the guys, but they didn't follow his lead. The young guys (Sully,Olynyk) seemed to be watching, and they fought until the final buzzer. So how have these three played together? Chris Forsberg gave a nice response to what Stevens should do for the remainder of the season.
Which makes us wonder if Wednesday's lopsided loss is the perfect excuse for coach Brad Stevens to shuffle the deck a little bit. Regardless of how well the Jared Sullinger/Kelly Olynyk combo has played with both players coming off the bench recently, it might be time to elevate them to the starting lineup and see if they can sustain that success against opponents' starting frontlines. At the very worst, Sullinger could pair with Humphries in a more minor lineup overhaul.
Here's part of the sell on the larger frontcourt overhaul: The Rajon Rondo/Sullinger/Olynyk three-man combo has been excellent since the All-Star break. The team's offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) with that group is a robust 107.4, or 7 ½ points better than Boston's average during that span. What's more, that combo's defensive rating is 101.8, or 6 ½ points better than the team's average since the break.
So even if Avery Bradley needs more time to rest his sore Achilles and regardless of who is at the swingman spot (there's a case to be made for more minutes for energy-lifting Chris Johnson, who negated a poor shooting night Wednesday by grabbing eight rebounds during 33 minutes of floor time), the Celtics play well when the Rondo/Sullinger/Olynyk combo is on the court.
I think at this point, why not start Sully and Olynyk with Rondo. Hump, and Bass have done it for the past 6 Celtic losses, why not give the young guys a chance to show what they have in starting roles. Sullinger is no stranger to the starting unit. He's started in 41 games this year, out of his 69 games played this year. Sullinger picked up most of his points in garbage time with a game-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Sullinger has been pretty consistent as of late. Despite the horrible game against the Bulls. He's averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds in the past 5 games, and shooting 40% from three.
Olynky has shown a great confidence since the All-Star break, and I think starting him would help his cause. Is he the next Dirk? Not likely, that's asking a lot out of him, and maybe he'll be an All-Star some day. That's realistic, but a legend? I don't think so, but never say never.