Call them old and inept. Deliver a couple of seemingly knockout punches. Just when it looks like the Boston Celtics are headed for mediocrity, they storm right back into title contention, as they've proven throughout the tenure of the Big Three.
The next season will be no exception, as Danny Ainge skillfully reloads his team for another try at raising that well-sought 18th banner.
Brandon Bass is back, Jeff Green is a signature away from returning and the glue that holds the team together, Kevin Garnett, is locked up for three more years. Regardless of Ray Allen's decision, newly recruited crew member Jason Terry is in Boston to replace Allen in the dreaded scenario that he deserts Boston for South Beach.
But, hold up. Celtics are still thin at the front line.
With Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett as the only proven big men tested in the rotation, the Celtics frontcourt looks frighteningly shallow. JaJuan Johnson was a non-factor in his rookie season, Fab Melo is essentially a long-term project and Sullinger, despite having one of the most NBA-ready games in the draft, may be inhibited by injuries or may hit the rookie wall.
Don't be fooled by his young age—Randolph has accrued four years of NBA experience under his belt and looks poised to break out. Heavily compared to Kevin Garnett coming into the league, he has the unique combination of speed, ball-handling and freakish athleticism unparalleled by most professional ballplayers. When given adequate playing time, Randolph has always delivered, easily registering 20-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and a slew of galvanizing dunks and blocks.
He addresses the Celtics' needs at the power forward and center positions, places where the Celtics heavily lack in rebounding, athleticism and speed.
Brandon Bass is a below-average rebounder, and Garnett cannot crash the boards like he used to. Randolph's rebounding prowess can address those issues. Moreover, Randolph's excellent individual defensive and shot-altering ability allows him to check stretch-4s and nullify oversized small forwards. This is a very valuable asset because of the small-ball, athleticism-oriented gameplay that contending teams are employing, namely the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The final facet that Anthony Randolph helps in is a commonly overlooked one.
According to ESPN, Garnett averaged 31.1 minutes per game last season. Despite playing some inspired basketball in the postseason, a reality check reminds us that Garnett is 36 years old. Doc Rivers needs to shorten the minutes on Garnett's body similar to how Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich limits Tim Duncan in the regular season to maximize his effectiveness in the postseason.
Anthony Randolph is a valuable asset who can help Rivers minimize the minutes logged into Garnett's body.
Bounced around without being never given a real chance, Anthony could be the final piece that secures the Boston Celtics their long-aspired 18th banner. It's also satisfying that Randolph could spare us from the eye-aching calamity of watching players like Ryan Hollins play the center.
Perhaps, he could be the future cornerstone of the Boston Celtics.
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