Recent rumors suggest that the Boston Celtics are interested in trading the third pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Jahlil Okafor. On the surface, this would appear to be a good move since Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie. But stats don't always tell the truth.
On the first edition of CSN's new Celtics podcast, Fireside Stats, CSN associate producer Max Lederman and NBA Draft analyst Kevin O'Connor discuss why the Celtics would be better off keeping the third pick instead of trading it straight up for Okafor. Derek Bodner of DraftExpress also joins us to give his expert opinion on Okafor's fit in the NBA. We also touch on the Celtics' options in the draft, including the best and worst-case scenarios.
There are less than 24 hours to go until the 2016 NBA Draft begins and it won't take long to give Fireside Stats a listen. The episode is only 25 minutes long. Please give it a listen and leave a comment with your thoughts on Okafor's fit with the Celtics.
BOSTON – This Celtics team is built to play position-less basketball, a style that lends itself to offensive mismatches.
But the downside lies in rebounding, which can be more difficult with players on the floor for whom board work may not be one of their strengths.
That brings us to the Celtics, who showed most of last season that they can find success on the boards even with players who may not traditionally be viewed as big-time rebounders.
So, who will be the chairman of the boards for Boston this season?
He led the team in rebounding last season at 7.4 per game and comes in as the odds-on favorite to repeat. The 32-year-old’s versatility to play both around the basket and on the perimeter will keep him on the floor a ton. And that will give him the best shot at making his presence felt on the glass, which will be one of the areas Boston has to find success to have the kind of season they believe they're capable of delivering. He had 14 double-doubles in points and rebounds last season and came within one rebound of a double-double on 10 other occasions.
This is my pick to lead in rebounding, if it’s not Horford. Minutes more than anything else are what I believe would keep Theis from leading this team in rebounds. As a rookie last season, he led the team in rebounding percentage (.160) while grabbing 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game. The 26-year-old started to show signs of becoming a 3-point threat, which bodes well for his chances at seeing as much playing time or even more, this season. And with increased minutes come a more impactful role, a role that will surely include him doing a strong job rebounding.
When you think of rebounding, 6-foot-2 combo guards don’t come to mind. But Rozier has already shown himself to be among the better rebounding guards in the NBA. With Boston having so many perimeter threats on the roster, that creates gaps and seams towards the rim that Rozier could easily slip into and do what he does as well as any guard in the NBA not named Russell Westbrook – and that’s rebound.
His length, deceptive athleticism and basketball smarts make him a player who could factor in the team’s rebounding efforts on a grander level this season. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) back in the mix along with Kyrie Irving, there’s a very real possibility that Tatum could be looked upon to become a better rebounder after averaging 5.0 per game last season. The key to Tatum’s improvement in this area will lie in his rebounding percentage numbers. Although he was fifth on the team in rebounds per game last season, his rebounding percentage (.091) was seventh among players who began the season in Boston and played more than half the season. Improvement in this area would do wonders for the Celtics.
Celtics star Gordon Hayward is close to coming to terms on a multi-year sneaker deal after being courted by a number of shoemakers.
Sports shoe and apparel giant Nike, Chinese company Anta and Boston-based New Balance, which has a sponsorship deal with the C's new Auerbach Center training facility, are pursuing Hayward.
Anta reportedly made Hayward an offer about a month ago, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula:
Former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo had deals with Anta. Hayward, coming back this season after missing nearly all of last season after an injury five minutes into Celtics debut, has been with Nike, including wearing the company's Kobe 11 shoe.