Celtics

Former NBA head coach sees Tacko Fall having role in modern NBA

Former NBA head coach sees Tacko Fall having role in modern NBA

The modern NBA is all about shooting, and no position has been immune to these changes. 

The center position, in particular, has undergone massive changes. Gone are the days of a center primarily being a back-to-the-basket, low-post scorer. Centers, with a few exceptions, typically need to be able to shoot from 3-point range to have a place on the court during the most important minutes of a game. 

Tacko Fall, however, could be an exception. 

The 7-foot-6 center signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Boston Celtics in June and impressed during the team's five-game Las Vegas NBA Summer League run. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the tournament and impacted many shots defensively with his shot-blocking presence. This is one area where former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy sees Fall being able to carve out a role for himself in today's NBA. Here's what SVG had to say about Fall during a recent radio interview with Orlando station 96.9 The Game.

Fall is no lock to make the Celtics' regular season roster, but the team would be smart to at least bring him to training camp and see how he fits in with the whole group. 

The Celtics have been busy re-tooling their frontcourt in free agency with the additions of Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier. The team also drafted Grant Williams out of Tennessee in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, and he could see minutes at center in small-ball lineups. Robert Williams, who was Boston's 2018 first-round pick, also figures to be a key part of the center rotation.

Fall isn't a threat to shoot from the outside, but his shot blocking, rebounding and ability to alter opponents' shots around the rim are valuable skills the Celtics certainly could use on their roster. He definitely deserves a chance to prove himself, whether it's in Boston or somewhere else.

Five takeaways from Celtics' Summer League performance>>>

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NBA picks: Celtics vs. Nuggets betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Nuggets betting predictions, plays against the spread

Who wants to ride the wave?

We somehow managed to sweep our predictions Wednesday night, correctly picking the moneyline, point spread and point total results for Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers while hitting our two NBA locks against the spread.

Friday night presents a challenge, though, as the Celtics finish off their West Coast road trip against another Western Conference power in the Denver Nuggets.

Can the C's pull off a road victory against a legitimate title contender, or will Denver send Boston to its first losing streak of the season.

We've got you "covered" with betting predictions for Celtics-Nuggets, as well as two locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET

Moneyline: There's no rest for the weary Celtics, whose final leg of a five-game West Coast trip is a matchup with the 10-3 Nuggets. The C's haven't scored more than 105 points in a game during their road trip and face the third-best defense in the NBA in Denver. The Nuggets (-190) hand Boston back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

Point Spread: As our own Chris Forsberg wrote Wednesday, these Celtics can compete with anyone. Their last two losses have been by a combined four points, so even if Daniel Theis struggles to neutralize Nikola Jokic in the paint, Boston's well-balanced offense should do enough to help the Celtics (+4.5) cover again.

Point Total: The 206 point total is temptingly low, but I'm sticking with my guns. These are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which should result in a drag-out, low-scoring affair. Take the UNDER, which has hit in four of Boston's last five games.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 21-11-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Atlanta Hawks (+7) at Detroit PistonsThe Hawks just got through a schedule gauntlet (at Nuggets, at Suns, at Clippers, at Lakers, vs. Bucks) and should be very relieved to face an underwhelming Pistons team. Even if Detroit wins, Trae Young and Co. should keep it close.

San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5): The Sixers have some flaws, but winning at home isn't one of them. Philly is 5-0 at Wells Fargo Center this season and should cruise against a Spurs team that's lost seven straight.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 12-9-1

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

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

The Boston Celtics are off to an 11-3 start to the 2019-20 campaign, which currently has them tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.

But if you're going to pick out one weakness on this year's C's squad, it's probably the frontcourt. It begs the question: Should they go out and get a legit big man on the trade market, or can they get by with the guys they have?

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely weighed in on that very subject on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast.

"I am very hopeful when it comes to the frontcourt," Chin said. "I think that we have seen Robert Williams take steps particularly on the defensive end that I wasn't sure he could make, and I think if he continues on that trajectory and kind of figures out his positioning and hustles and plays hard, I think that that's going to be a huge help to the Celtics.

"And then additionally, Grant Williams. I am high on Grant Williams. The guy is so smart, and I know he is so undersized, but he's got so much heart and he is almost like a Marcus Smart 2.0 and he just wants to make plays. He just wants to impact winning, and I think there's value in that."

"I look at their situation the way that I would look at getting a new car," Blakely said. "How much is this going to cost me? How much am I going to have to lose in order to gain this new nice shiny vehicle? And to me, that's the issue that Danny Ainge has to grapple with.

"Because right now, he can get by with the group he has and they can make a little bit of noise in the playoffs, but you know that it is a weakness. You know that if you get a certain matchup, it could spell the end of your season. So you're going to need some luck on the way if you stick with the group that you have and make no significant changes."

Listen to the full episode below (frontcourt talks begins at 10:00 mark)

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