Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Matters of size are certainly an issue for the Celtics, and not just up front where they still covet the so-called rim protector. Their backcourt rotation features the abundantly talented — but small — Isaiah Thomas (5-foot-9), Avery Bradley (6-2) and Terry Rozier (6-2), and while the 6-4 Marcus Smart is doing a much better job running an offense, he’s often being called upon to guard small forwards and even power forwards.
Such considerations almost certainly factored into the decision to draft Jaylen Brown instead of Kris Dunn last June. The Celts got a strong 6-7 wing who, while he still makes the expected rookie errors, has shown maturity beyond his 20 years, and they avoided a tighter backcourt logjam. (But as evidence the C’s still lean toward the best available talent, they kept the 6-1 Demetrius Jackson and waived R.J. Hunter.)
The best case scenario for the Celtics as they take the floor these next several weeks is for the team to play well enough collectively that it enhances the value of the players individually. As much as Brad Stevens focuses on trying to win the next game, the overriding mission of the organization is to build a roster that can compete for a championship. And that’s not what’s here now.
There’s no getting around it: the Celtics are always at a size disadvantage. Brad Stevens likes to use small ball lineups, but that happens by default because the Cs are literally the shortest team in the NBA in terms of aggregate height. Fittingly, the Face of the Franchise is only 5-foot-9 (see photo above: Dennis Schroder is 6-1).
As we know, that nightly height mismatch has caused the Celtics’ Achilles heel: a lack of rebounding. Boston is 25th among 30 teams in rebounding percentage at 47.9% of all available rebounds.
Even worse, in defensive rebounding percentage, they are dead last at 73.3. (In layman’s terms, they’re allowing opponents to grab a crapload of offensive boards.) You’ll be unsurprised, therefore, to learn the Celts are giving up 15.2 second-chance points per game – again, the worst in the league.
This struggle will continue until the Celtics get some people who can hit the glass. At this point, their only avenue is to make a move before the NBA’s trade deadline on February 23. (To get a handle on the many factors that affect trade possibilities, such as who can be traded when – Tyler Zeller, January 15! – see Basketball Insiders’ Getting Ready for NBA Trade Season.)
Also know this: There’s one guy who’s been All-NBA the past two seasons but who might be on the market anyway, because 1) his team never makes the playoffs, and 2) they have to be tired of his on-court attitude (94 technical fouls racked up in six-plus seasons). The Celtics might want him because he would solve that rebounding problem (career average 10.7 per game) and they wouldn’t have to immediately worry about his contract (signed through next season).
Yes, we’re talking about DeMarcus Cousins. Sure, we’d all rather trade for Anthony Davis – all the talent, none of the angst – but New Orleans has no reason to give him up. Meanwhile, because Cousins is flawed, it’s plausible the Kings may decide to go in a different direction. If so, one legendary NBA/Celtics reporter would go after him.
Coincidentally, the Kings and Cousins will visit Boston this Friday. Boogie has been ejected from games against the Celtics once in each of the past two seasons. Let’s see if he’s on his best behavior this time.
On Page 2: Glad we signed the Swede
In the last six games, Jerebko has averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 78.9 percent from the field (15-for-19) and 77.8 percent on 3s (7-for-9). He also has a team-leading effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of .974.
Jerebko has also provided some much-needed energy and effort on the glass which has paid off in him grabbing 19.6 percent of the defensive rebounding opportunities he had while on the floor which is tops among the Celtics big men during that span.
We all love the Swedish Larry Bird, ja? When he’s hot, like right now, he brings so much to the second unit’s productivity. He’s versatile and has a tremendously positive attitude. Glad to see him reaping the benefits.
And, finally: They flop in the NFL, too
Poor Marcus being slandered on a day he wasn’t even playing! And this tweet is from the producer of “Shaqtin’ a Fool.”
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