|Options dwindling for the Celtics in their big man seach||03.21.12 at 11:35 pm ET|
The Celtics lost out on Ronny Turiaf when the veteran signed with the Heat. They lost out on J.J. Hickson when the Blazers were awarded the waiver claim. They even lost out on Chris Johnson, when the one-time Celtic was claimed off waivers by the Hornets.
Where does that leave the Celtics? The two names still in circulation are Ryan Hollins and journeyman Josh Powell. Here’s the take on Hollins: He’s 7-feet tall with a decent touch around the basket, but he’s a poor rebounder who lost his spot in the Cavs’ rotation to rookie Tristan Thompson.
Still, Hollins is better than Powell and would serve an immediate need considering the sore foot that Greg Stiemsma is currently playing through. If anything happens to Stiemsma, the Celtics are in major trouble and it could lead to Kevin Garnett playing more minutes than the team would like.
In order to add Hollins — or anyone else for the matter — the Celtics would have to make room on their roster by waiving one of their players. Chris Wilcox is out for the season and will undergo heart surgery later this month and Jermaine O’Neal decided to have wrist surgery and will also miss the rest of the season.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, they wouldn’t be able to re-sign a player they waived for at least a year so if they have any interest in bringing Wilcox back, they’d keep him on the roster.
This Friday is the deadline for players to be bought out/waived and still be eligible for the postseason on another team. As a reminder, players can sign at any time up until the last day of the regular season and still be eligible for the postseason as long as they are not on someone else’s roster by the Friday deadline.
|Celtics’ big man search: Ryan Hollins||03.20.12 at 1:48 pm ET|
For the last three seasons, Ryan Hollins has been an NBA rotation player. First with Minnesota in 2009 and then with the Cavaliers, Hollins has averaged about five points and three rebounds per game as a 16-minute backup center. He’s 7 feet tall, but there’s really nothing that stands out about his game.
He doesn’t create his own shot and while he has a decent touch around the basket and can make a long-distance jumper on occasion, he’s a career 66 percent free throw shooter. He’s the worst defensive rebounding center among players with 20 or more games who play 10-plus minutes per Hoop Data, and he isn’t much of a shot blocker for a 7-footer.
But Hollins is now available after the Cavaliers waived him, and once he clears waivers he’ll undoubtedly be on the Celtics‘ list. Despite his overall mediocrity, Hollins has some value to a team like the Celtics. He is athletic and can run the floor, two areas that are in major need of an upgrade.
He’s a center, and with Greg Stiemsma laboring with a sore right foot, the C’s need some protection behind Kevin Garnett, who has played a lot of minutes –about 34 a night — on this road trip. Hollins isn’t a fun name like J.J. Hickson, or as proven as Ronny Turiaf, but he is healthy and had been regularly up until the trade deadline.
As with the other candidates, the Celtics will have to make room on their roster with 15 players under contract. An obvious choices to be waived is Jermaine O’Neal who elected to have season-ending wrist surgery.
|Celtics’ big man search: Ronny Turiaf||03.18.12 at 2:47 pm ET|
The big man dominoes are starting to fall as the Nuggets waived Ronny Turiaf after acquiring him from the Wizards in a trade deadline deal. Turiaf is a 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward/center who has posted solid seasons with the Lakers, Warriors and Knicks in his seven-year career. He’s good rebounder and defender with good touch near the basket, averaging 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The big question with Turiaf is his health. He played only four games for the Wizards due to a broken left hand this season. Turiaf suffered the injury against the Celtics back on Jan. 1 and it was the same hand that he injured over the summer playing for the French national team. He has not played since the injury, and he told The Washington Post in early March:
“If was just me, choosing to play, I would’ve been back a long time ago. They are putting the strain on myself, on me, because they know sometimes, I may not be the most rational guy when comes to help teammates and to do stuff.”
The other issue with Turiaf is his heart, and for a team that has lost two players to aortic surgery that is no small consideration. After Turiaf was drafted by the Lakers in 2005, doctors found an enlarged aortic root and he underwent open heat surgery. The Lakers voided his contract but re-signed him six months later and he was able to resume his career.
If healthy, Turiaf would be a perfect for the Celtics, who desperately need another big man behind Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma. Turiaf is versatile enough to play both the center and big forward positions and would provide some needed muscle and size on the interior. With several contending teams look to beef up their frontcourts, the Celtics would certainly have competition for his services.
|Glen Davis knows he has to choose wisely||04.19.11 at 2:54 pm ET|
Celtics forward Glen Davis takes too many jumpshots. This past season he launched 4.6 times a game from between 16 and 23 feet, which is three and a half more attempts per game than he averaged last season and almost twice as many as the 2008-09 season when he first began to fall in love with the long shot.
Shooting the jumper isn’t the problem. The Celtics offense generally takes their four men away from the post and out on to the perimeter (see: Kevin Garnett). They like to keep the floor spaced and the driving lanes open for Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce.
The problem for Davis is that he didn’t make very many of them this season, hitting at just a 35 percent clip. By way of comparison, Garnett made 47 percent of his long jump shots and was one of the best shooting big men from that range in the league.
And yet for all the criticism Davis takes for his offense, he has had a breakthrough season as the Celtics most important reserve and garnered serious attention early in the season as a top Sixth Man candidate in the league. He filled that role so well that it’s easy to remember that just last season Davis was getting only 18 minutes a night and still trying to carve out a place for himself in the NBA beyond simply as a “rotation player.”
Part of the reason Davis played so well this season is that he became far more effective inside where he upped his shooting percentage from 50 to 60 percent and increased his attempts. He was frustrated by how often he got his shot blocked last season and developed some counters, which have been successful.
But he has to get inside first. Davis took eight shots in Game 1 and missed seven of them. Half of his attempts were from 16-23 feet and he made just one. Oddly enough, some of that has to do with Amar’e Stoudemire, although not directly. The Knicks use one of three players alongside Stoudemire: Ronny Turiaf, Jared Jeffries and Shawne Williams.
Friend of Green Street, Gian Casimiro showed by way of video the effect those players, particularly Turiaf, have on the Celtics defense. Essentially, Jermaine O’Neal played way off Turiaf and protected the paint. Of the three options, Williams could cause the most damage because of his ability to shoot 3-pointers. Turiaf was also effective making four of five shots inside mainly because O’Neal was busy elsewhere, but the Celtics seem willing to make the trade.
With that in mind, I asked Davis about it after the team’s shootaround this morning.
“They’re different,” Davis said. “When you guard Amar’e, he’s hard to guard because he’s so quick. Shawne Williams puts a lot of pressure on the next guy [the help defender] because he’s stretching the floor. If a guy like me is posting on Shawne Williams that’s a negative. But you know, other teams live with that. They’ll live with me scoring if the ball is not in other player’s hands. So I’ve got to pick wisely how I play the game.”
That’s why focusing on individual matchups like Garnett and Stoudemire is too simplistic. A great player like Stoudemire causes teams to make decisions and each decision has a counter-move. Davis is crucial for the Celtics in this series because of his versatility to matchup against whomever the Knicks put on the floor with Stoudemire. As he said, he needs to choose wisely.