5 Big Men Boston Celtics Must Target to Fix Rebounding Woes
It's no secret that the Boston Celtics are struggling to rebound the basketball.
As of Dec. 7, the Celtics rank last in the NBA in rebounding, with Kevin Garnett really the only player on the team who has been consistently solid on the glass. This is nothing new for Boston, as it was also terrible on the boards last season.
The question is, will the C's do something to fix this problem?
There are certainly options out there, and more options will likely arise as the season progresses and ballclubs put more guys on the trading block.
The lack of rebounding has probably cost the Celtics a couple of wins this year, so you would have to think GM Danny Ainge is sifting through names who could be potential remedies for this issue.
Let's check out five big men Boston could look into to improve its rebounding.
Have you been noticing the kind of season that Anderson Varejao is having? If not, then you should probably start paying attention.
The 6'11" Brazilian who was merely known as a gritty hustle player prior to the past year or so is averaging 15 points and over 15 rebounds a game thus far, including a 35-point, 18-rebound effort against the Brooklyn Nets back on Nov. 13.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are clearly in rebuilding mode, so it would seem only natural for them to try to move Varejao for some young players and draft picks to further expedite the process. The problem is, Varejao is likely to command a hefty return, a return that may end up biting the Celtics (or any team that may acquire Varejao) in the long run.
Although the center is having a spectacular season, he is 30 years old now, and he does have an injury history. As a matter of fact, Varejao has not been healthy over the course of an entire year since the 2009-10 campaign when he played 76 games. Does Boston want to risk dealing some of its younger talent for a now aging player with health concerns?
One thing is for sure: a healthy Varejao would go a long way in solving the C's' rebounding issues. It's just that the Celtics may have to mortgage their future to make that happen.
As of Dec. 7th, Gortat is averaging 11.3 points, 8.2 boards and two blocks a game. Not only would Gortat aid the C's on the glass, but he would also provide them with a rim protector to play alongside of Kevin Garnett. Plus, he would give the Celtics some offense down low.
Gortat should certainly not be as costly as Varejao, and also unlike Varejao, Gortat is relatively young (28) and is a durable player.
Boston definitely has the assets to deal for the man known as The Polish Hammer. The question is, will the Suns try to rake the C's over the coals and attempt to pry away a bit too much?
Okay; so Kenyon Martin isn't exactly the world's greatest rebounder, as he has never averaged 10 per game in any one season and tallied only 6.9 per 36 minutes last year. That said, Martin has the reputation for being a tough guy, so at the very least, he can put a body on opponents and ensure that Garnett is not the only player boxing out down low.
It is very peculiar that Martin is having so much trouble finding himself a job right now.
Over the summer, he was reportedly unwilling to accept the veteran's minimum, so if that is still the case, then mystery solved. However, one would have to think that he has backed off of such demands at this point, no? If not, he should probably do so soon.
It was reported that Celtics veterans were pushing the front office to sign K-Mart, and that should come as no surprise (h/t Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports). Say what you want about Martin, but he is a battle-tested player who has been in the NBA Finals before. He is also very physical and would seemingly make a great defensive pairing with K.G. up front.
Unfortunately for whichever vets were lobbying for Martin's services, Boston is reportedly wary of adding the 34-year-old due to his history of attitude problems.
All things considered, if Boston fails to acquire a better big man through a trade, signing Martin should be a no-brainer if he is still on the market. It seems hard to believe that K-Mart would misbehave on the C's given all of the veteran blood and winning pedigree on the roster.
One player who is flying under the radar as a potential target for the Celtics is Brendan Haywood.
Haywood, a rugged seven-footer, has always been very solid on the boards, averaging over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes the past five seasons. This year, he is averaging a fine 9.2 per 36, and that would certainly help Boston up front.
Haywood signed a three-year deal with the Charlotte Bobcats, but only for around $6 million total, so he would definitely be affordable. He also wouldn't command much in return, as it's not exactly like he's a hot commodity.
No, Haywood does not provide much of anything in the way of offense, but his effectiveness on the glass and his ability to play decent, physical defense could be exactly what the C's need.
Al Jefferson is easily the most unrealistic option of the players mentioned, but the Celtics would not be doing their due diligence if they didn't at least check with the Utah Jazz to see what it would take to acquire the big man.
The thing with Jefferson is that his contract is up at the end of the year, so the Jazz may be inclined to try to deal him at the deadline to get something for him in the event that he walks.
Big Al is actually one of the more underrated players in the league, as he possesses an incredible post game and a tenacity on the glass that Boston is sorely missing. So, his presence would actually help the C's two-fold. Of course, his defense leaves something to be desired, but he is so productive in other areas that you live with his deficiencies on that end of the floor (a la Zach Randolph).
The Celtics would almost certainly have to part with Avery Bradley or Jared Sullinger (if not both) to bring Jefferson to Boston, and they would also likely want to work out some sort of contract extension in the process of acquiring him so they don't have to worry about losing him over the summer.
As outlined in the previous paragraph, the chances of Jefferson returning to the C's are very, very slim, but it is worth noting the slight possibility.