Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project Boston: The Center Situation

Kelly Olynyk, Vitor Faverani, Joel Anthony, the Boston Celtics...What do those four have in common? The players all play on the Celtics as of right now. That needs to change. The first step to rebuilding is too get a strong big man who can create havoc.

Look back through history and you'll see faces such as Wilt Chamberlin, Willis Reed, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Moses Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the Celtics very own Bill Russell. Taking a walk through history gives us the idea that big man change the game, though many had sidekicks such as Ewing - Starks, Reed - Frazier, Shaq - Bryant, etc big men can change the complexion of a franchise and that is where Danny Ainge and the Celtics need to start in order to reshape the franchise.

Through free agency not many young faces arise, but one player who may not live up to the superstar potential of a Patrick Ewing or Hakeem Olajuwon, but could be a viable starter is Greg Monroe. Monroe, currently a Detroit Piston, is currently averaging 14.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, and 2.0 apg as the fourth scoring option in Detroit. Monroe is currently only 23, and would play a bigger role in Boston, but whether or not he could live up to some of the greats who have been forces in the interior is a stretch, especially when considering his lackadaisical low post defense.

The better rout for the Celtics would be to go through the draft. This years draft is expected to be one of the more star studded ones, and after the semi disastrous 2013 draft that has produced more busts than breakout rookies, I think not only do the fans, but the GM's deserve it.

This years draft will feature names such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Marcus Smart, and Julius Randle, but the there are only two players the Celtics should look into getting in Joel Embiid, and Noah Vonleh. Embiid, who many consider to be a "project player", has been a surprise to the NCAAM world as he has averaged a solid 11.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.8 bpg, and 1.3 apg while converting on a 67% clip from the field. He could be the big body who looks down the interior and plays the role of big body that the Celtics have lacked this season upon the departure of Kevin Garnett.

The other option for Boston is to go after the underrated big man out of Indiana in Noah Vonleh. Vonleh is a stretch five for the Celtics and possesses a strong three point shooting stroke as he is converting at a 55.6% clip from behind the arc while almost averaging a double double with his 12.4 ppg, and 9.4 rpg to go alongside his 1.3 bpg. Not only is he a big body on defense, but he can provide an offensive spark and in a fast flowing offensive system that Brad Stevens runs, Vonleh could thrive, potentially developing into Paul Gasol type of player.

The Celtics need to start the rebuilding process and depending on their long term goals, the decision on whether or not to get a center through the draft or free agency will differ, but there are ample options this offseason, and the first place to start for Boston is at the five.