Boston Celtics: Minutes
The Celtics have given every indication that their aging core of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett will return next season for what's likely one final run at an NBA title. There's already been talk about adjusting their roles and lessening their minutes, and the latter might be most important for Garnett, who turns 35 in two days and is the one with the most NBA miles on his tires.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett might see a change in the way his minutes are distributed next season.
As crucial as Garnett has been to the Celtics over the last four seasons -- particularly on the defensive end -- coach Doc Rivers has always been adamant about keeping his minutes in check, with the hopes of preserving him for the playoffs. In each of his four seasons with Boston, Garnett has averaged less than 33 minutes per game during the regular season, with a 32-minute night (if not less) being ideal in Rivers' mind. Typically, Garnett will play the first eight minutes or so of the first and third quarters, retreat to the bench to rest, and return for approximately the final eight minutes of the second and fourth quarters. But Rivers said on Monday that minute pattern wore on Garnett over the course of the most recent campaign, and he'll look to make an adjustment going into next season.
"Kevin Garnett, for example, instead of playing him two stints in a half, which is equal to 32 minutes, you have to play him three five-minute increments, to let him play with his power, give him a little rest, bring him back in," Rivers told Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM). "I think substituting him that way will keep him fresher, longer. I thought the longer minutes, you know, even six, seven, eight minutes in a row, over the year, caught up to him, so I want to change that."