LAS VEGAS — Celtics Summer League coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged after Monday’s 87-69 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that not being able to deliver quality minutes to all of the players on his roster has been difficult for him at times.
Head Coach Tyronn Lue talks to his Celtics summer team during a timeout against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
"It’s tough, especially being an ex-player. It’s tough for me to have guys come and don’t get a chance to play. It eats at me, you know?" Lue explained. "I see a lot of [teams] in Summer League, they have four or five guys who don’t even come out of their shirt. We have 12 guys, we’ve been playing 11, depending on how the flow of the game goes, but it hurts me not to get everybody in and get a quality amount of playing time."
Through two games in Vegas, Lue has gone with a starting lineup of E’Twaun Moore, Dionte Christmas, Kris Joseph, Jared Sullinger and JaJuan Johnson, while Jamar Smith, Fab Melo, Stephane Lasme and Jonathan Gibson have garnered the majority of the minutes off the bench. Guys like Craig Brackins, Larry Owens and Sean Williams (though the C’s probably know enough about him already) have often been the odd men out, accumulating less than 10 minutes of action in each of the first two contests. Lue said he doesn’t have an exact plan for minutes mapped out heading into each game, choosing instead to watch the games develop a bit before making certain decisions.
"I just go with the flow, how the game’s going, how guys are playing, how many games we’re playing in a row, the fatigue factor," Lue said. "I just kind of play it by sight."
Summer League often sees players gunning for contracts and the watchful eyes of the NBA brass in attendance, but so far Lue and the Celtics have managed to avoid any issues stemming from a disconnect between guys adhering to a team concept and working for their own goals. But even that accomplishment in hand hasn’t made it easier for Lue to leave certain guys on the bench for the majority of games.
"That’s how it goes, I guess. Going forward being a coach, I’m going to have to deal with [not being able to play everyone]," Lue said. "But it eats at me at night. I’ve got to try to find ways to get guys in different positions to get guys in the game, but it’s tough at some moments."