Each Thursday during the season we join forces with our friends and TrueHoop partner CelticsHub for a game of 5-on-5 tackling key issues surrounding the Celtics. In this week's edition, ESPN Boston's Greg Payne and I join the gang to break down the Celtics' bench. Here's a sample:
1. Is Mickael Pietrus more important to the Celtics than Marquis Daniels?
Greg Payne: Not necessarily, mainly because I think Daniels is still a better overall playmaker than Pietrus. I think Pietrus is a better energy player, which Boston needs, and he’ll probably knock down more big shots, but I’m actually interested in seeing a lineup featuring both Daniels and Pietrus. I think Daniels will be able to help create shots for Pietrus, and I’m optimistic that they’ll be able to work well together on the other end of the floor, guarding the wing positions.
Chris Forsberg: If Daniels could ever put it all together — and stay healthy — he’d be the more important piece because of his versatility. Alas, it just never seems like it’s going to happen here, so Pietrus’ defensive intensity seems to make him more important at the moment. Daniels is a great story coming off spine surgery, a miracle that he’s even playing. But his inability to be a consistent offensive threat (he’s one of the league’s best cutters when he wants to be) and a decline in his defense this season thrusts Pietrus ahead on him in order of importance.
Ryan DeGama: Let’s not mix words here: Daniels has been awful this season. He’s made three shots all month, is shooting 27% from the field and is rocking an abysmal 5.60 PER. Over the short term, Pietrus should get all his minutes. Over the long term, I also prefer Pietrus’ long-distance shooting, energy and defensive credentials to Daniels’ mid-range slashing game and injury history.
Hayes Davenport: Yes. Pietrus is a better overall defender and provides an actual shooting threat. Daniels’s greatest strength is his ability to quietly subsume himself into the C’s system – he knows where he’s supposed to be on offense and defense, and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes when he gets there. But he actually might be a worse shooter than Rondo. He’s built an affordable housing community of bricks in his time with the Celtics. Give me Pietrus, but there’s room for both of them on the bench, if only to keep Avery Bradley from seeing the floor ever.
Brendan Jackson: Daniels was a healthy scratch last night against the Mavericks meaning he could have played but didn’t. It’s obvious that Daniels hasn’t been playing well but there doesn’t really seem to be any clear indication as to why he’s not playing well. Conversely, Pietrus played great on both sides of the ball in his Celtic debut. Luckily, both have six fouls to give which may come to mean a lot if the Celtics play Miami or New York in the playoffs.
Hop HERE to read the full 5-on-5.