Holiday Wish List: Boston Celtics
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
The new-look Boston Celtics have been better than expected this season. They’re 8th in offensive rating. Sixth in defensive rating. They’re one of several good - but not great - teams in the Association.
There’s probably a few things Celtics fans have on their wishlist. A more dominant big man, perhaps. A bit of veteran depth. A shiny new All-Star to make real the team’s championship aspirations.
Celtics digital superfan and professional poster @Riffs_Man has been on the Davis Bertans trail for quite some time. Boston is decidedly mediocre shooting the ball from deep; the 27-year old Latvian would be a massive upgrade.
Bertans is connecting on 45.7 percent of his threes on an incredible 8.4 attempts this season. That’s five full percentage points better than the C’s leader in three-point efficiency Kemba Walker.
Though he may play for the lowly Wizards, Bertans appears unafraid to let it rip. He’ll likely be a hot commodity this trade season if Washington even considers moving him.
Rather than stretching the floor from the center position, Boston could instead focus its attention on a traditional big man. Steve Adams, free from the tyranny of Russell Westbrook rebound poaching, is having a career-year down low.
Matching Adams’ $22.5 million salary would almost certainly require the Celtics to move a player like Marcus Smart or Gordon Hayward. As such, this deal is likely nothing more than daydreaming (reuniting the Stache Brothers feels too good to be true.) If Boston’s front office feels intimidated by the likes of Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, more size in the paint could be in order.
Finding a defensive-stopper down low might still mean making a call to Thunder general manager Sam Presti. In his sixth season of service as a pro, Nerlens Noel is coming into his own as a skilled big off the bench.
Daniel Theis has been remarkably effective for the C’s thus far, and has started in 20 of the 21 games he’s played in this year. Between Enes Kanter, Robert Williams, and Vincent Poirier, though, the Celtics are without a consistent presence in the paint in reserve. Noel isn’t quite what the doctor ordered, but could be a slight improvement over the unproven Poirier if Boston continues to employ a “center by committee” approach.
Just about every top team in the NBA is likely to do their due diligence and give the Grizzlies a call about Andre Iguodala. Memphis will look to move the 2015 Finals MVP, presumably negotiating with quite a few suitors. A bit of clever math could put the Celtics into this equation.
To that end, the Celtics may also punt on their holiday wish list and wait patiently for the buy-out season. The team’s core is excelling, and adding a few supplementary pieces down the stretch feels like the most likely outcome.