Celtics

Celtics Spotlight: Can 7-foot Vincent Poirier add needed depth at center?

Celtics Spotlight: Can 7-foot Vincent Poirier add needed depth at center?

BOSTON -- Even with all the uncertainty surrounding the Celtics and the center position, Vincent Poirier knew this transition was not going to be a smooth one. 

He’s playing in the NBA for the first time, with a new and unfamiliar group of teammates, in a new system and by all accounts, a very different role than the one he had overseas. 

Spotlights: Walker | Smart | Brown | Hayward | Kanter |

Tatum | Fall | Wanamaker | Ojeleye | Edwards | Williams

But the approach now Poirier says, isn’t all that different than it has been elsewhere when it comes to basketball.

“I’ve been in this situation before where I have to fight to find my spot,” Poirier told NBC Sports Boston. “So I’m ready. I’m just working hard, learning fast and I’m OK with that. I know that’s the process. I’m focusing on my role.”

It’s a successful season for Poirier if… 

...he can work his way into a semi-consistent role this season. In preseason action, the 7-foot center has provided glimpses of why he has been on the Celtics radar for the past three seasons. He led the Euroleague last season in rebounding (8.3 per game) with a good chunk of his damage coming on the offensive glass. While he played limited minutes in the preseason, his per-36 minutes per game numbers are a solid 9.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, the kind of production that Boston will need from the center position this season. 

It’s a disappointing season for Poirier if… 

...he spends most of the season buried at the end of the Celtics’ bench. Distinguishing himself from the rest of those contending for minutes at the center position has been a challenge of sorts thus far in training camp. Daniel Theis has been a solid defender against post players as well as smaller players on defensive switches. Enes Kanter’s low-post game offensively and rebounding prowess will get him on the floor for sure. And Robert Williams III’s freakish athleticism and improved understanding of how to play at this level will mean minutes for the second-year big man as well.

2019-2020 Outlook

Poirier is saying all the right things now as far as being patient while waiting for his chance to play meaningful minutes. It’s easy to feel that way in October when the season hasn’t started. But what if when the games start coming one after another, and the calendar flips to 2020 and Poirier finds himself buried on the bench? Barring an injury or two (which is more likely than not at some point), Poirier isn’t going to play much this season. And even if healthy, he still might not get much court time if head coach Brad Stevens leans on his more skilled (and undersized) players, which is very possible.  Poirier has shown some of the skills that Boston likes in a big man for sure. But the way this team is built coupled with the players ahead of him on the depth chart, it's hard to envision the 26-year-old will work his way into being anything more than a spot-duty player whose minutes and opportunities to play will fluctuate all season. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Marcus Smart is listed as probable for the Celtics' Wednesday night game in against the Clippers in Los Angeles after the guard had to leave the Monday night win in Phoenix with a scary-looking ankle sprain. 

Smart vowed after the game Monday that he would play against the Clippers even after being helped off the court when he was injured in the fourth quarter.

Smart appeared to be moving well on the ankle Tuesday, according to Celtics.com's Marc D'Amico.

Gordon Hayward, recovering from the fractured bone in his hand and expected back around Christmas, is out for the Celtics. 

The Celtics (11-2) sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Following an opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston won its next 10 before losing to the Sacramento Kings by one point on Sunday and bounced back with the 99-85 victory in Phoenix on Monday night. 

They'll take on the Clippers on Wednesday and Denver Nuggets on Friday to complete their Western trip before returning home to face the Kings and Brooklyn Nets next week. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.  

 

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Brooklyn Nets point guard, and former Celtic, Kyrie Irving may not play against Boston next week -- shocker, right?

The 27-year-old already has been ruled out for the Nets matchup Wednesday with the Charlotte Hornets with a shoulder impingement. It'll be the third game in a row he's missed and the Nets are 1-1 without him. 

Irving has only eight days to recover from the injury before a highly-anticipated return to TD Garden on Thanksgiving Eve. If he misses the remainder of the Nets' games this week, it's more than likely he won't play in Boston -- especially considering he'll be in for a rather unfriendly reception from C's fans.

He certainly didn't leave Boston on a high note after first committing to re-sign with the Celtics, then backing off that in what became a disappointing season where his leadership was questioned and he had well-publicized differences with his younger teammates. That led to his eventual free-agent departure to Brooklyn to join his friend Kevin Durant, who is out for the season after tearing his Achilles in the NBA Finals with Golden State. It appears there are leadership questions in Brooklyn, too, after reports of his "mood swings" irritating Nets' officials. 

Nonetheless, through 11 games, Irving is averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. If he does end up playing against the Celtics, his reception, and how he performs against his old teammates, will be interesting to watch. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.