May 15, 2010, 5:30 PM EDT
So here’s one.
He’s made the playoffs every single year after his rookie season. That’s incredible. For a guy routinely criticized for not wanting it badly enough, to make the playoffs every single year is kind of a big deal. But what he did in the Eastern Semifinals was no less than a coup for every lazy player who says they can turn it on in the playoffs. Sheed was, to be honest, really good. Not great. Not phenomenal. Just really good. Worked the block. Made threes. Rebounded. And in a championship drive, it’s players that can put that kind of production in in limited minutes that can make the difference.
The Celtics are about to face a team with a series of players that give them fits. Orlando’s forwards are faster, have better range, and play inside of a system that accentuates their unique abilities without sacrificing defense or rebounding. Which is why Sheed’s success is so important.
The thing that’s more important is Sheed’s consistency.
He doesn’t have to bring incredible play every game. He doesn’t have to be a difference maker. But what he cannot do is what he has done the entire regular season and continued to do in the playoffs right up until Game 4 against Cleveland: vanish. He vanished, being ineffective at both ends of the floor.
Boston needs every body, at 100%, primed and ready to fire. Doc Rivers can’t have a situation where he puts Sheed in and doesn’t know what he’s going to get. The Russian Roulette that exists with Sheed has to become a consistent effort he can count on.
Sheed’s shown us that when give the chance, he’ll make good on his promises of flipping the switch. He’d better, because so far Orlando’s been “on” for half a season.
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