NBA Draft 2011: Boston Celtics' Last Stand, 2 Ways To Improve
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The Miami Heat made the NBA Finals with less than a season together.
The Chicago Bulls have a 22-year-old MVP, a solid core in place around him and are always looking for ways to improve any weak links.
As the Eastern Conference gets younger and more competitive, the Boston Celtics' window for another championship is closing fast.
Assuming the Big Three all have another year in them, Boston isn't far away from adding banner No. 18. They made a terrible error in trading Kendrick Perkins last season. That being said, Perkins wasn't an extremely skilled player. Finding a big body to do the dirty work, grab rebounds and play solid post defense is not an impossible task.
There aren't any realistic options in free agency to do that. Tyson Chandler fits the bill, but will be too expensive, so it looks like it is up to the draft tomorrow night to find a player to help keep that window open.
Option One: Trade up and select Markieff Morris
This isn't like 2007, when Boston had young talent and a Top Five pick to work with in rebuilding the franchise. That being said, it should not be difficult to trade up into the middle of the first round. Morris did all the dirty work at Kansas while his twin brother Marcus got more of the attention.
He rebounded at a solid rate, averaging 8.3 per game, and shot 59 percent from the field, so he does not need a lot of volume to chip in on the offensive end. At 6'10" and 245 pounds, there was a time when Morris would have been seen as too small to play center in the NBA.
However, there are very few seven-footers out there, as the NBA gravitates towards smaller, more athletic centers. Pair him with a bargain free agent, such as Nazr Mohammed (who filled a similar role in helping San Antonio win a title) and the Celtics may have enough to replace Perkins' presence.
Option Two: Stay put and select Jordan Williams
Williams is the best rebounder in the draft, averaging 11.8 per game last season, and that is exactly what Boston needs. Another big body at a legit 6'10", he should be able to play center in the NBA. He also averaged 17 points on 54 percent shooting and, like Morris, won't need a lot of touches to chip in down low.
According to the Washington Post, Williams has already slimmed down, has a better diet and is sporting an NBA-ready physique. His work ethic was questionable at Maryland, and his defense will need some work. But as far as work ethic and defense are concerned, he has no better mentor than Kevin Garnett.
Williams did average over 32 minutes per game, however, so his basketball conditioning really couldn't have been bad. He also had three of his best games against defending champion Duke. He averaged 19.6 points and 13 rebounds against the top team in the ACC, proving he is capable of coming up big when it matters most.
We could be looking at Williams as the steal of the draft. Celtics fans will certainly hope so.
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