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Celtics "elephant-in-the-room" is lack of a reliable center

 The issue with the Boston Celtics that is not often discussed is - how much longer can the team rely on a 3-headed big man at the center spot? The Green really have not seen that since the 1969-70 season when Red Auerbach and Tommy Heinsohn were forced to go with Rich Johnson, Jim Barnes and Hank Finkle sharing the 5-spot.

The 6'7" Johnson jumped center - Barnes came in when muscle was needed - and Finkel racked up the most minutes (23.3 MPG) following the retirement of Bill Russell. Boston fans now see the aging Al Horford, the undersized Grant Williams and the oft-injured Rob Williams filling that role

We read about Boston having a plethora of guys at the guard position and needing another wing to hopefully cut the minutes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But not much is seen or heard on finding a long-term remedy at the center slot. 

There is general agreement that Nikola Jokic and his Denver Nuggets could very well have another two or three Titles in their future. Slowing down The Joker is the real issue here. He is a non-athletic phenomenon - big, strong, skilled and smart as a whip. He bullies opposing big men under the hoop and hits shot from very long range. Calling him a tough cover is a huge understatement.

The Celtics past Titles all had bigs that could hold their own against almost any opposing center. Think about Bill Russell, Dave Cowens, Robert Parish - and Kevin Garnett, even though he played mostly at the power forward spot. You notice you do not see Finkel, Johnson or Barnes on this list.

By "hook or by crook", Brad Stevens needs to latch on to a young, rising big man for the present and the future. Al recently turned 37 and is not getting any younger. Rob has averaged a mere 42 games per season since coming to Boston and requires limited minutes to remain on the floor. And Grant is 6'6" and not gaining additional height any time soon.  

If Jaylen Brown is deemed to be too expensive for the Celtics to hold onto him, perhaps the team needs to find that new big guy to fill the center spot reliably for 30-34 minutes per game.


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