Brad Stevens made the first trade of the offseason. The Celtics acquired former All-Star Al Horford and prospect Moses Brown in exchange for Kemba Walker. This puts the team in an interesting position regarding the frontcourt, especially because the team currently still doesn’t have a coach. Whoever takes the position will have a lot of options to make the best out of the bigs’ minutes pending another move.
Al Horford was an interesting addition to the team, and one that excited a lot of fans. Those who expect him to return to his former from need to be a little more realistic. He’s a couple years older and now is the time when bigs start to decline. That being said, his numbers have stayed relatively consistent. Positionally, Horford is flexible. No matter where he is, he plays efficiently. Horford will be best when he is also used tactfully. The new coach will need to find the best way to play Al with different lineups. With his passing ability as well he fills some gaps in Boston’s offense. Look for Horford in a variety of lineups at the start of next season.
The best part of Horford for Boston will be what he provides off the floor. He was historically a great locker room guy, even in the disastrous second Kyrie Irving season. In Philadelphia, he was a horrible fit on the floor and took some flack for saying the locker room had issues. This being a familiar environment, Horford will once again be the perfect glue guy.
Tristan Thompson was a good signing at the time. He was brought in to be a strong presence in the frontcourt and to be a solid rebounder. Sadly, he underperformed. He rebounded decently enough, but showed himself to be underwhelming overall. Thompson still has one more year left on his contract, a mistake the team hopes to move off of. Given the depth at the 4 and 5, it’s reasonable to expect to see Thompson shopped in trades this offseason.
Rob Williams III
Rob Williams played at a high level in some of the biggest games. I actually wrote that he was the Celtics center of the future a few months ago. Now, I’m not so sure. Not because of his performance. He still has outstanding stats when he’s on the floor: 72% field goal, 1.5 points per shot attempt. His problem is fragility. He’s completely unreliable. Brad Stevens took some criticism from fans who wanted Williams to play more minutes. The critique is fair until you look at his injury history. He simply can’t. That’s not to say he won’t overcome his issues and shine as the Celtics starting center, but right now it seems unlikely. It just can’t be expected that Williams can handle a heavy workload until proven otherwise.
Moses Brown is remarkably young (21) and also a newcomer to the organization. On the surface, he seemed like a throw in on the Kemba Walker trade, but he may just surprise some people. He’s shown flashes of his potential and even averaged more rebounds than Tristan Thompson last year, while starting 11 less games and averaging less minutes. His per 36 numbers are actually outstanding but those aren’t always perfect indicators of success. He had a throw away rookie season where he didn’t play which makes evaluating him all the more difficult. On top of that he is the only one of these players actually over seven feet. He has a ceiling of being a key contributor. The thing to look for with him will be how the new offense will function and how much the new coach wants to trust youth on the floor.
(Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
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