The Celtics need an influx of young talent. Watching the creaky bodies Doc Rivers sends on the floor each night, it is clear the C’s will need new, younger players with whom to move into the future.
One route the Celtics haven’t yet chosen to go, when picking up players, is signing a D-Leaguer. The C’s have assigned their own players to the D-League, but when it comes to signing their own free agents they prefer old, past-their-primers recently bought out of a contract another team no longer desired.
The D-League Digest’s Steve Weinman, who you may know from his fantastic work on CelticsBlog, wrote two callups he’d make if he were Danny Ainge. One of them, I didn’t agree with: Greg Stiesma. Stiesma is the big, white goon who played collegiately for Wisconsin and looks like he should be out bailing hay rather than down low swatting shots. He’s simply too limited for me to see him ever playing minutes in Boston.
But Weinman’s other choice, I would like. It was the Maine Red Claw most ready for a callup: Morris Almond, D-League scoring machine. I’ll let Weinman take it away:
Enter Almond. The man is a scorer, plain and simple. He can shoot the three (40.1 percent this season, 38.2 percent in 88 career D-League games), get to the rim off the dribble, pull-up in traffic, finish with contact and convert at the foul line (81.1 percent from the stripe this season, 81.9 percent for his D-League career). Almond scores in bunches (24.5 points per game this season) and can play the two and the three. While unspectacular in other aspects of the game, he won’t be a fatal liability either. For a team that ranks 17th in offensive efficiency and second at the defensive end, an added scoring option for the second unit could hardly hurt at this point.
It doesn’t hurt that Almond has spent the last month and a half playing for Austin Ainge (recognize the last name?) for the Celtics’ affiliate in Maine. He managed to get his points rather efficiently while leading the league in scoring for a struggling Springfield team, but playing for the stronger Red Claws has really showcased how sharp Almond can be: Though he plays six fewer minutes and scores five fewer points per game in Maine than he did in Springfield, Almond’s effective field-goal percentage has jumped from 53.9 with the Armor to 59.3 percent with the Claws. When the Celtics’ bench is struggling to generate offense, it might help to have a guy like Almond to toss out on the floor for couple-minute bursts at a time.
Almond can score, in bunches, and do it efficiently. He’s fairly athletic, can shoot from outside, and excels in transition. Plus, he’s not on the wrong side of 30. On the Celtics, that can’t hurt.
He’d be cheap, and he’s talented, so why not? Oh, you mean Doc Rivers never plays youngsters, regardless how talented they may be?
Sorry, I’d almost forgotten.