Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Well you know I’ve never had it, but I think it obviously plays a critical role in defending the paint in this league,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I thought we defended extremely well but we got caught on a switch at the end of the game, which is what we didn’t want to do and as a result they made us pay by [Len] tipping the ball in. Seven-footers can have a big impact on the game in that way and Plumlee is a tough guy to guard because he rolls down the lane so hard. I thought Len gave them good minutes, too.”
Stevens acknowledged he didn’t have that type of center even in his six seasons at Butler. But the Celtics have played all season without a shot-blocking threat or shot-altering big man who can even intimidate opponents.
Said Stevens: “Obviously it’s something that we’ve talked that in an ideal world you have somebody protecting the paint.”
With two first-round picks and salary cap space, the Celtics could make center a main priority. What’s more, a defensive-minded 7-footer could immediately make the Celtics a better defensive team and expedite their rebuilding process.
The Celtics are ninth in the league in points allowed but 21st in rebounding while big men such as Portland’s Robin Lopez, Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, Indiana’s Andrew Bynum, Houston’s Dwight Howard, and Detroit’s Andre Drummond have dominated the paint in matchups with Boston.
“I haven’t thought a ton about it,” Stevens said. “I think certainly in an ideal situation what you’re looking for is certain qualities of a team and I think that a rim protector, whether it is a seven-footer or not is extremely important in this league, a guy that really protects the paint, dotted line and in.”
Boston Globe - Celtics stymied by lack of true center
Ever since the days of Robert Parish roaming the paint for the C’s ended, they have needed a center. Well that doesn’t make them unlike any other championship driven team in the NBA. Although the league has become more of a guard’s game in recent years, having a rim-protecting big man is still imperative to have. It’s why they were willing to give up a nice package to the Houston Rockets for Omer Asik, who doesn’t remind anyone of Shaq in his prime, but because he’s a solid defender in the middle. It’s the last line of defense against a league where the goal for the majority of good teams is to shoot threes, or drive to the basket for a lay-up (or draw a foul to get to the line). While I agree that it’s a key piece to a winning puzzle, I don’t think it’s the primary need for this Celtics team.
If the Celtics are to go with Rajon Rondo as one of their key pieces and pay him as such, then they absolutely need to find a big time scorer. Paul Pierce is the definition of a pro-level scorer and the C’s were lucky to have him for as long as they did. Just watch how many times this season you see this team get into offensive ruts, searching for a guy to get hot. Sure, you can score within the team concept and in many ways it’s tougher to defend when there isn’t that one targeted guy. But the best scorers still find a way to defeat even the best defenses. Carmelo Anthony (I know, the majority of you guys loathe him) can still light it up. Kevin Durant, obviously can torch teams on demand.
Those guys are very tough to find and while you don’t need one of the elites to win it all, you still need to have a go-to guy to at the very least can stop those long droughts by getting to the basket at will and drawing fouls. The Celtics don’t have that, or anyone that can be counted on consistently enough as an all-star number one type of player. Now, if that rim-protecting center also serves as your go-to scorer well then that’s just icing on the cake. They have their premiere point guard and floor leader in Rondo. They have some nice role players already as well as some solid fighting rebounders. The top priority (or one of them) should be that scorer (preferably from the wing) that can get buckets.
On Page 2, Scal gets his own 30 for 30:
(thanks to Jamey for finding this gem):
The rest of the links: