Sizing up the D-League prospects
|03.12.12 at 2:11 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Celtics need help. Specifically, they need tall people. The problem with that, of course, is that there just aren’t that many of them to go around and there are even fewer of them available. But with Jermaine O’Neal injured and away from the team and Chris Wilcox awaiting further tests on a possible heart condition, the Celtics need to find someone, somewhere to help fill the void in the middle.
They have four players on the roster who qualify as big: Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson. (Stiemsma was wearing a walking boot after playing 13 minutes on Sunday. He said it’s precautionary, but that’s not a good sign for a team that can’t afford any more injuries).
Coach Doc Rivers made it clear on Sunday that the team is looking for help, but they are hampered by two realities. First, they are at the maximum 15 players on the roster and if they decide to add someone, then a veteran has to be waived. Second, they are reluctant to do anything to damage their future rebuilding plans.
“You don’t want to do anything silly,” Rivers said. “We’re building for this year and the future so we’re not going to do anything that’s going to hurt either one of those. Obviously we’re looking to grab a big from somewhere, hopefully not by giving away a player, by doing it another route.”
The most obvious place to look is the D-League, but while the development league is full of guards and wings it has a noticeable shortage of qualified big men.
“Usually there’s not a lot of bigs floating around the D-League,” Rivers said. “We’re going to look everywhere. Wherever we can.”
Here’s a snapshot of some of the better prospects, with a hat tip to Scott Schroeder at Ridiculous Upside.
Mikki Moore: The most qualified by far, but he didn’t mess at all with Rivers in a brief run at the end of the 2009 season. There is a better chance of seeing Shaquille O’Neal back with the Celtics than Moore.
Keith Benson: A second round pick by the Hawks, the 6-foot-11 Benson is averaging 14.3 points and 7.7. rebounds for the Sioux Falls Sky Force.
Brian Butch: Stiemsma’s one-time teammate at Wisconson, Butch is averaging 18.2 points and 11.1 rebounds for the Bakersfield Jam. He has good range, making 42 percent of his 3-pointers.
Dan Gadzuric: The nine-year NBA vet has been off the radar for most of the season, but he made his debut with Texas on Sunday and scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Earl Barron: Currently playing in the Philippines, Barron has appeared in 112 games over six NBA seasons.