In news that should surprise only those who have been holding their breaths underwater for the past three months*, Doc Rivers acknowledged that the Celtics are not opposed to adding another big man.
Rivers admits that the Celtics might have no choice but to find another big man. No simple task.
“The way they have been injured, we may have to get one anyway,” Rivers said. “That’s something Danny and I will talk about over the All-Star break. But if there’s a big man out there, there’s a reason he’s out there.
“Maybe in the D-League there’s a guy who can fit us. We don’t need a great big. We need a big who can fit our identity, and there’s someone out there. We just don’t know who it is yet.”
Obviously, the Celtics would have to cut someone to add a free agent, or they could acquire a big in a trade. Duh.
Jeff Clark mentions the possibility of adding Jeff Foote, who starred at Cornell during college and recently made the D-League All-Star team for the Springfield Armor. But the problem with Foote is the same problem with a lot of D-League big men — he’s flawed, and he’s flawed in ways Rivers would never overlook. Foote is a reasonably skilled seven footer with soft touch. He has skills around the hoop and range that extends outside the paint. But he would get shoved around defensively and doesn’t have the athleticism to make up for his lack of power. He’s not a physical presence like the Celtics need. As Rivers said, if there’s a big man out there, there’s a reason he’s out there.
I realize I’ll make Jermaine O’Neal jokes until the day he dies (so I should have stopped three years ago, you’re telling me?), but I actually like the Celtics front court when it’s healthy. (If it’s healthy. Whatever.) Wilcox has been a revelation of sorts. Bass can fill ‘er up. O’Neal irks me because he doesn’t always seems to try, but he’s helpful on the defensive interior. Kevin Garnett is still Kevin Garnett, and JaJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma have shown moments of usefulness. Boston’s front court isn’t half bad. It could certainly use an upgrade — what front court couldn’t, really? — but the front court isn’t half bad.
On another note, Rivers still doesn’t feel entirely comfortable using Johnson.
“We’ve got three bigs, and we’re still debating on whether JaJuan’s a big yet,” the Celtics coach said. “I guess giving him more time is good. I don’t know why we would think that is good. He’s a good player, but you don’t want to force anybody into minutes. I don’t ever believe that’s good for a guy. The minutes he earns are what he should play all of the time, not the minutes that are there.”
It’s easy to scream, “JUST LET HIM PLAY, DOC!” but I understand where he’s coming from. Johnson occasionally looks great, and he does some things you can’t teach, like hit feathery floaters and rise for occasional highlight dunks. But he also clearly has a long way to develop before he becomes accustomed to Boston’s schemes, on both ends of the floor.
*Carl Brashear, I’m looking at you — hugs to anyone who gets the reference