Skip to main content

The 5-spot is the center of concern for Boston Celtics

I have few worries concerning the point guard slot for the Celtics this coming season. Newly-acquired Kemba Walker is a proven star at the position, and I have total faith in Marcus Smart to play that role. And I would be surprised if we didn't see rookie Carsen Edwards pick up some minutes at the point.

How about wings? We have plenty of those - Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, rookie Grant Williams and Smart in specific circumstances. The wing lineup should project somewhere between solid-and-terrific.

We know the players Boston has at the center position. What we don't know is how they project in Brad Stevens offensive and defensive schemes. None of the Celtics centers have Al Horford's package of 3-point shooting, defense, passing and overall versatility. If we watched highlight reels of Vincent Poirier, Enes Kanter and Rob Williams, we would see scores on lobs, dunks and put-backs - with an occasional block on opponents' shot attempts.

No one from that center trio could be labeled as a defensive whiz, assist-artist or dead-eye shot from deep. We know Kanter will score in close and rebound. We know the same about Rob Williams, but with the added attraction of his shot blocking. Poirier remains the major question mark. He could either turn out to be a major flop or a significant contributor once he gets the hang of the NBA game.


There are two other possibilities at the center spot. One is Daniel Theis. In his two seasons with Boston, Daniel has - in limited minutes - shown himself to have the versatility Stevens looks for. He can rebound, battle down low, defend the perimeter and hit the long ball. He has struggled a bit against the bruising big men but he can work on that part of his game. He has done well this summer in World Cup exhibitions. He could work well as an occasional small-ball five, but improvement over the course of the season could see him in the starting lineup.

Rookie Grant Williams lacks the length of traditional centers, but in occasional contests, he might fill in at the 5-spot. One thing is for sure. Brad Stevens can no longer be reticent about experimenting with various combinations. He should take a page from Don Nelson's book on innovative lineups. And please don't pass out at the idea of 6'4" Marcus Smart filling in at the center spot briefly on occasion. A physically-strong, low-center-of-gravity, good-wingspan (6'9.25") guard would work at times. Preposterous you think? I think not.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @CausewayStreet

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

We may be glad Danny Ainge rolled the dice on Theis

Frankly, I was not sure if Danny Ainge would ink Daniel Theis to a new deal, but it looks like a good move. Theis is signed for two years at a total of $10 million, with the second year non-guaranteed. With the departure of big men Al Horford and Aron Baynes, rolling the dice on Theis could work very well. In his first season in Boston, Daniel just kept improving. For the pre-All-Star stretch, he averaged 14.5 minutes/Game, 5.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG while shooting 52% on field goals and 30% on treys. Post-All-Star his minutes increased to 18.4 per game, his points to 7.8/game and his boards to 5.3/game. And he shot 68% on field goals and 40% on 3-pointers. Then a meniscus tear shut him down. His minutes and production took a hit last season, in part most likely due to lagging recovery from the injury. Right now he is playing on German's entry in the FIBA World Cup. In a game versus The Czech Rebublic, he scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, passed off for three assists and blocked tw

What Jeff Teague can bring to the Celtics offense

Bringing in Jeff Teague as some guard depth this year could end up being a monumental move for this year's Celtics team. Teague is a well respected veteran in the league, and having gone to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, knows what it takes to win tough games. Here's a brief look at why I think Jeff will be a great fit with the C's Every Celtics fan loves Marcus Smart , due to everything he brings to the table, from the defensive intensity to scoring outbursts. For all the good things he does, Marcus excels off ball, and can have his effectiveness diminished when he is forced to be a primary ball handler. He is often pigeon-holed into that role with the second unit (or when Kemba is out), and Teague's addition will hopefully allow him to play more off-ball and maximize his abilities.  At the deadline last year, Teague was traded to the Atlanta Hawks to play alongside Trae Young. His usage rate and effectiveness dipped considerably, as he