Is landing Nate Robinson priority number one for the Boston Celtics?
Some teams need to rebuild from the ground up, especially the Boston Celtics.
At this point, they should be worried about maximizing their overall depth by acquiring more free agents to bolster their bench crew.
Star players tend to get all the glory, but the unsung heroes of the NBA's varying bench contingents deserve a round of applause as well. Regardless of whether a team is clinging to a playoff seed, a perennial contender or simply trying to escape the cellar of mediocrity, success isn't certain without a good bench keeping the opposition honest on a nightly basis.
Yes, we already know stars are what keep us watching, but oftentimes, it's a solid bench that keeps them winning.
While the biggest name of the free-agency period made his decision, it isn't like the rest of the guys available are scrubs.
Even at this point, there's always a value to be had; and sometimes, the more underrated candidates end up fitting in just as well as anyone else.
Nick Young is known for two things—his affection for Versace button-ups and instant offense. It never hurts to have a guy like Young, well, unless he shoots you out of the game.
While he has a reputation for being a reckless gunner a la J.R. Smith, Young is among a short list of bench guys who can singlehandedly light teams up purely off their jump shot.
Young shot around 41 percent from the field (yeeeughk), and he poured in a modest 10.6 points per game—not bad at all, plus he maintained a 35 percent mark from beyond the three-point line.
It could certainly be argued that fellow former-Washington Wizard Jordan Crawford, now a Boston Celtic, would clash with Young's game considering they do similar things on the court. You could easily have both of these guys rotate anywhere from the 1, 2 or even 3 spots thanks to their length, ability to handle the ball and shooting ability.
Granted, if the ball is in either Crawford's or Young's hands, it won't move much, but allowing the real points to catch their breath and throw different looks at the opposition can sometimes shake things up.
These aren't the kind of players you want to throw 40 minutes a game at considering their respective skill sets, but give them their couple minute spurts within the game, and you might get lucky if their shooting stroke is hot.
It never hurts to have a guy who can catch fire, and Nick Young is certainly a guy capable of doing so.
Similar in vein to the aforementioned Nick Young, Nate Robinson is another one-man wrecking machine on offense, but he's certainly had more of a proven track record.
Robinson has made his mark in the league by jumping high for a short guy and embodying what a competitive, elite athlete is supposed to look like at the next level. He battles, he competes and he taunts, but most of all, he scores.
Because he's below 6', Robinson is extremely limited defensively. His low center of gravity allows him to stay in front of people, but off switches or post-ups, he's a mismatch waiting to happen.
Because he's a very poor decision-maker at times and hindered by his physical make-up defensively, he is forever relegated to the role of sixth man. He epitomizes spark plug.
His field-goal percentage hovered in the low 40s, he scored around 13 points and handed out 4.4 assists per game last season for the Chicago Bulls.
He is a guaranteed fan favorite, and he would be returning to a team he played with before in 2009-10.
Robinson is a solid guard who can initiate offense for himself and others. While he makes mistakes here and there, he's a great value to have on the bench.
Offense is always awesome, but defense-minded intangibles are just as valuable.
Kenyon Martin adds instant toughness and intimidation to any squad. He is still a deceptively good athlete, a tremendous rebounder and a shrewd defender. Offensively, he's certainly limited.
You can't really toss him the ball on the block for an iso look, but you could certainly have him run the floor on the break, or hit him for a dump-off pass off a pick-and-roll.
Martin also adds leadership and presence to a locker room that could really use a motivator and an anchor both on and off the court.
Last season, he averaged 7.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds with almost a block per contest. You could probably land him for a good value at this stage in his career, and he would make the battles against the New York Knicks a lot more intriguing, since he'd be going up against his most recent former squad.
Of the three players listed, who is the best fit for Boston?
Guards who can create offense are typically on the forefront of where people look for bench pieces, but the enforcer-type rebounder is often the player who makes the "winning" plays that don't show up on stat sheets.
He won't score 30 points, but he might certainly help hold an opposing team to 30 points in a half if he's on his A-game.
No matter which direction the Celtics go with their free agents, the priority should be easing the pain of transition.
No one wants to turn the page on an era that was enjoyable, but by adding small pieces here and there—even if it's an extra sub or two—they can gradually create a new era with a future just as bright as the last one had.