Brazilian big man Vitor Faverani is one of the key offseason additions for the new-look Boston Celtics. What does the imported center bring to the table for the C's?
That's a question that remains to be answered. Game tape is scarce on the 6'11" 25 year-old, who moved to Spain at the ripe age of 17 to begin his professional basketball career.
What little there is to work with, however, shows an intriguing mix of skills the Celtics will hope to take advantage of:
Versatility is what leaps off of the screen here. His post offense (usually one of the last elements a big man develops) looks fluid, and there's no hesitation when he catches the ball around the rim. Faverani makes his moves before defenders have a chance to get set, evidence that his moves in the paint have become second nature.
Just as impressive are the finishes with both his left and right hand. Faverani does a great job using his frame to seal his defender off and get clean looks at the basket. He shows soft touch off of the glass as well as a nifty hook shot, which he'll have to use against the bigger, better defenders he'll face in the NBA.
What makes all of this possible is Faverani's superb athleticism, on display here:
Even after having to hurdle an opposing player who hit the deck, Faverani gets down the court quickly and punctuates the fast break with a dunk. Taking off a couple of feet inside the foul line, he glides around a defender and to the rim in one smooth motion.
One scout talked to the Boston Globe about Faverani, discussing what type of things he can contribute for Boston:
“He has got an NBA frame and great wingspan. He is pretty athletic and likes to work on the defensive end of the floor. He has good feet and he is good in [pick-and-roll] defense.
“He is active, can block shots from the weak side, and likes to bang. This is where his nickname ‘El Hombre Indestructible’ comes from.
“On offense he is still raw, he is not selfish and has decent passing skills from the low post. He is good as a roller in pick and rolls. He was shooting threes decently three years ago on a weaker team, but not consistently enough to let him continue that in Valencia [a high level team].
That's a package that would appeal to almost any NBA team. The big question is whether Faverani can turn his potential into production.
Faverani averaged just 17.4 minutes for Valencia last season, which put a cap on his contributions. Those per-40 numbers are staggering, though, and would put him in elite company if he could duplicate them for the Celtics.
That's probably not a reasonable expectation, considering no one in the NBA accumulated those numbers last season. But at the very least, Faverani should be a threat in pick-and-roll situations. ESPN's Chris Forsberg reports:
In 34 games for Valencia last season, Faverani averaged 0.976 points per play (324 points over 332 plays), which ranked him in the 72nd percentile among all international players, according to Synergy Sports data. His post numbers won't wow you (0.888 ppp), but he thrived last season in the pick-and-roll (1.2 ppp) and off of offensive rebounds (1.361 ppp). He's prone to turnovers, but his offensive skills are obvious.
Rajon Rondo will be thrilled to hear that after losing screen master Kevin Garnett to trade. The threat of Faverani rolling will draw help toward the rim and give both him and Rondo open shooters to pass to. Offensively, that seems to be a fit with the inside-out game of first-round selection Kelly Olynyk, so don't be surprised if Brad Stevens plays the two big men together frequently.
Perhaps the most interesting nugget of all was buried in a July article in the Boston Globe, in between news and notes from around the league:
The Celtics were once potential suitors for oft-injured center Greg Oden, who has been working out for teams in the hopes of a return, but they have backed out because of their signing of Vitor Faverani.
The Celtics may not have been a true contender for Oden's services, but it's telling that they pressed on to sign Faverani while the former No. 1 overall pick was still in play. It's tough to say whether that speaks more to Oden's lengthy injury history or Faverani's perceived upside, but it's noteworthy at the very least.
Faverani is a needed presence on a team that is going to spend a lot of the early going carving out their identity. It's Rondo's team now, for better or for worse, and a capable big man who will run the floor and present a large target for the point guard is a necessity. If Faverani can improve defensively, where he, "sometimes gets caught on his heels," the Celtics have a nice complementary piece going forward.
As an added bonus, Faverani seems pretty excited to be coming to Boston:
If that enthusiasm and athletic ability translates into production, Danny Ainge got one of the great bargains of the summer.