On the second night of a back-to-back, against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, during Boston’s fourth game in five days, Kevin Garnett played 34 minutes and Brandon Bass stayed on the court for 40. Greg Stiemsma, who began the season as Boston’s 15th man, earned 20 minutes off the bench, and no other Celtics big man played significant time, mostly because Doc Rivers trusts no other big man on the court.
Unfortunately for the size-starved Celtics, Rivers doesn’t trust any big man on the free agent market either. Though he previously stated that the Celtics wanted to add two bigs for the stretch run, Rivers now believes the Celtics might be done making transactions. (ESPN Boston)
“We may add another guy just to get through the year,” said Rivers. “But we’ll see; there’s no out there.”
“Honestly, I’d be surprised if we brought a big in,” said Rivers.
This is the Celtics’ predicament: Garnett and Bass have been playing too many minutes, Stiemsma (who has played admirably, I know) has been forced to traipse on despite several injuries and the Celtics, who lost both their starting center and his primary backup to season-ending maladies, have nowhere else to turn. Ryan Hollins has yet to earn Rivers’ trust, and would need a serious transformation (read: become a much better rebounder) in order to do so. JaJuan Johnson has shown flashes of promise but Rivers remains unconvinced that the rookie is ready to contribute on a daily basis. The free agent market, which was sparse to begin with, has dried up like a tiny puddle underneath the Sahara Desert sun.
And so the Celtics make do with what they have, with a rotation that includes a 26-year old rookie who started this season in the D-League. They are one injury away from granting serious rotation minutes to Ryan Hollins, one injury away from shoving Johnson into the mix, ready or not. Garnett has done a great job at the center position and Bass has given Boston a consistent scoring option, but the Cs are being out-rebounded almost every night and surrendering an average of 197 points in the paint per contest (note: that’s just an estimate). They desperately need a physical, enforcer-type center, but nobody is available, and it looks like the rotation they have now is the one they’ll have the remainder of the season, as long as nobody suffers an injury (knock on wood).
Think again about what one more injury would mean to this team’s front court. Now hope and pray that injury never comes.