Here’s What Celtics Coach Ime Udoka Said About Early-Season Rotations

Parker has played in two straight games after missing the first three

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October 27, 2021

We may be starting to get a better glimpse of what the Boston Celtics’ consistent rotation may look like.

As is expected for early-season action, the Celtics have gone through a few different looks already to open the 2021-22 NBA season. While some of those changes have been out of the team’s hands due to injuries to players like Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Romeo Langford, all-in-all new Boston head coach Ime Udoka is getting a feel for what his rotations will look like throughout the long campaign.

While things certainly will change based on matchups, with an almost fully healthy team Wednesday — aside from Langford due to left calf tightness — Udoka rolled out a nine-man rotation that featured early minutes for forward Jabari Parker for the second straight game after three healthy scratches to open the season. Guards Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard were unable to get in the game.

The Celtics head coach gave look under the hood after Wednesday night’s 116-107 loss to the Washington Wizards and discussed rotation changes and what a consistent rotation may look like.

“(Jabari Parker) played well last game and we wanted to go bigger when we took (Grant Williams) out, but in general it’s tougher to balance the lineup as far as (Payton Pritchard) not playing when you have (Dennis Schröder) coming off the bench,” Udoka said to reporters after the game. “He started the last few games and so we had Payton in the rotation there, but with everybody back and healthy he was limited tonight as far as that. But guys played well overall. The bench struggled in the first half, but got a good boost from Dennis. Just got to have a better effort overall.”

It’s no easy task to build a consistent rotation, especially with all of the inconsistency to open the new season. But Udoka has a philosophy to get things right and tighten things.

Nesmith specifically has been caught in the roster crunch over the last two games while the squad has gotten healthy, but Udoka hasn’t quite soured on the 2020 first-round draft pick. With a bevy of guards in front of him, there’s some work that needs to be done.

After a 2-3 start, the Celtics definitely have some work to do but now will have a few days off to tinker before looking for revenge against the Wizards on Saturday on the road.

Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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