Mailbag: Time to change things up?

It took a little bit less than three weeks of the 2014-15 season to pass before Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens fielded his first question about whether he had considered tinkering with his lineup and rotations.

Stevens admitted it was a fair question and one that he'd pondered while trying to figure out why Boston has struggled defensively and allowed a few winnable games to slip away. But Stevens also made it clear that it's much too early to overreact to early-season trends -- both good and bad -- and that he doesn't feel Boston's woes can be solved by simply swapping out a starter.

As the questions that arrived in the Celtics mailbag this week only confirmed, observers are restless. Boston is 4-6, which isn't a particularly bad start, especially considering the level of competition the Celtics have faced and how they've been competitive in all but one game (Houston). But after kicking away potential wins against the Cavaliers and Suns, then looking lethargic at times against the winless 76ers, mailbaggers are ready to tinker.

Let's talk them down in this week's Celtics mailbag:

Q: Is it time to move Tyler Zeller into the starting lineup? -- Eric, @e_sal513 (via Twitter)

A: OK, we knew this one was coming. Zeller has been one of the league's most efficient offensive players and is shooting 83.3 percent from the floor. If he keeps finishing pick-and-rolls at this rate, he'll be more popular than Semih Erden, Greg Stiemsma, Shavlik Randolph and all the team's other recent backup big men combined by season's end. Given Boston's lack of a pure center, chatter about starting Zeller was inevitable at some point this season. I think Zeller is in a good spot as a changeup off the bench at the moment. He tends to thrive against other pure bigs, exploiting his ability to run the floor. As we saw on Wednesday night, Philadelphia's long and athletic bigs gave him more trouble. Stevens can pick his spots with Zeller in a reserve role right now and ride him when he's got advantageous matchups. We'd expect to see a bunch of him against Memphis on Friday. Ironically, it's Boston's better defensive play when Zeller is on the floor that might make the best case for an increased role. And his numbers alongside Jared Sullinger have been eye-popping -- but more on that later.

(Read full Celtics Mailbag)