As the Boston Celtics head into training camp, I wanted to take a quick look at each of the guys who will either be competing at the center position.
Over the last few seasons in the NBA, we have seen major contributions from centers shooting from behind the arc. Centers are expected to handle the dirty work down low and underneath the basket. But when you have a big man who is versatile enough to step back there and let it fly, it changes the dynamic of a game; and a team. The Boston Celtics have five centers on their roster as they head into training camp.
Enes Kanter is one of the big free agent signings this summer. The big man will provide a dominant force to the team, and some muscle in the paint. Kanter has been working on his shooting skills throughout the summer, knowing he can provide extra support to the team on the offensive end. Once Kanter joined the Trailblazers last season, he improved his game in a huge way, impacting his team throughout their playoff run.
Kanter played for both the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers last season. In 44 games with the Knicks, Kanter was scoring 14 points per game. Once he joined the Trailblazers, Kanter was still shooting pretty consistently with 13.1 points per game. I think those numbers are great for a big man who doesn’t rely on shooting to get his points. Kanter is going to be a great addition for Brad Stevens and this Celtics team.
Robert Williams is a player the Boston Celtics hope will transition into more of an NBA player. After selecting Williams in the first round last year, he only appeared in 32 games for the Celtics. However, he did average 1.3 blocks per game, giving him 40 total blocks for the season; which I found impressive. He said he lost some weight this summer but he will “still be a problem.” I thought Williams would’ve benefited from more minutes last season, but last year is over!
“Time Lord” had a rough start to his rookie season, as he was late to team meetings and even missed a team flight because he over slept. Williams posted an impressive summer league for the team, even logging in a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds. I think if Rob can improve his shooting and rotate around the court better; he could become versatile enough to play the four-spot as well. I do think he will be an important factor for the Celtics this season.
Daniel Theis is having a very great summer while playing for Germany in the FIBA World Cup. It looks like Theis has worked on his footwork this summer, as it’s noticeable down in the post. Theis’ improvement in his footwork will help him down in the post, but also moving around the court. I think Theis can play some valuable minutes at forward in certain Brad Stevens packages.
Brad Stevens has shown that he can change the pace of a game by the different rotations he puts together, and with his in game adjustments. There is always a trick up his sleeve. I could see him running a unit that uses both Theis and any other center on the floor together.
Vincent Poirier is the other big man for the Boston Celtics who is playing in the FIBA World Cup as well, but he is representing France. Poirier brings a “wild-card” element with him to Boston. He is a very athletic center, who loves to do work both under and above the basket. He’s always dunking. In fact, Poirier came in #1 on the top 5 plays of FIBA World Cup Day 8. I’m very excited to see Poirier wearing green this season; he is going to be a game-changer. The versatility and athleticism of Poirier is what sets him apart from most.
Tacko Fall became a worldwide fan favorite during the summer league. Fall is more than just a 7’7” frame who can dunk the ball without even leaving the ground. Fall has impressed his teammates and coaches throughout this whole transition to the NBA. Fall went undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, and received an exhibit-10 contract from the Celtics; which allows him to “try out” for the team through training camp. Some say he should improve during some time in the G-League, but others have said he is NBA ready.
During the Bob Ryan podcast, Brad Stevens said that Tacko Fall is an NBA player. If he doesn’t make the Celtics 15 man roster, there is a very strong possibility that another team scoops him right up. Stevens also went on to say how well Tacko moves his feet. After watching him during the summer league, it’s clear that he is more than just a tall frame on the court; he can flat out play.
Brad Stevens has many options with the center position; something he hasn’t had in years past. I’m very excited about the versatility and athleticism at the position.
Brad Stevens on how the Celtics will use their big men: "It could be rotating them. It could be that somebody wins it. We'll see how it all works out. But they're all good guys and they've all had good summers."
— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) September 3, 2019
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