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Celtics weakness at center spot will be exposed & exploited in playoffs

Things are going fine thus far for the Celtics, starting the season with a 4-1 record. Kemba Walker has stepped in just fine to fill the point guard position vacated by Kyrie Irving, but the loss of center Al Horford to the Philadelphia 76'ers will really start to hurt come playoff time.

It is a well-known axiom that in post-season play, teams will expose and exploit any opponent's weaknesses - and for the Celtics that means lack of length and versatility at the five-spot. Al Horford had the length at 6'10", and he certainly had the diversified game. His primary replacement, Enes Kanter has played only one game for The Green, a loss to the 76'ers. French import, Vincent Poirier has played a total of 12 minutes this season, scoring four points and grabbing one rebound. Daniel Theis has been the best solution so far, but he is undersized at center and just can't handle the brutish big men.

I have argued that Rob Williams should end up with the starting gig at center by the end of the season, but I doubt he will be ready for extended minutes against Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic when the post-season heat is turned up. Brad Stevens' defensive schemes can be brilliant, as is the video breakdown supplied by @NBEinstein in the video below:



With Jaylen Brown out of action with an illness against the Knicks, the fivesome of Daniel Theis, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker shows itself to be the best lineup Brad can throw out there. But that combo may not work against The Lakers, 76'ers, Nuggets or several other teams with long, versatile bigs. So what's Danny Ainge's solution?

Danny is known as a summer trader as opposed to a pre-deadline deal-maker. That could change this season. Boston is hard-capped, making trading for a star center the likes of the Cavaliers' Kevin Love a low-chance possibility. How about the Thunder's Nerlens Noel? Ainge has never lusted after the local product, and Noel has a vast injury history. And at 6'10" and only 206 pounds, he tends to be a bit fragile. Still, I don't rule this possibility out entirely.

Ainge will watch the progression of Theis and Rob during the first half of the season, and he will be observing potential acquisitions among the bigs of the League during that time. The focus on that analysis by Danny will be a a big-minutes center with a skill-set of defense, rebounding and ball-distribution to take on the talented bigs The Green may face in the post-season.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and Facebook



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