Celtics

What makes Wanamaker, a 29-year-old rookie, a good fit for Boston?

What makes Wanamaker, a 29-year-old rookie, a good fit for Boston?

BOSTON – Brad Wanamaker is one of the few new faces on the Boston Celtics roster, but that’s OK. Unlike most rookies, Wanamaker is familiar with a couple of his new Celtics teammates (Marcus Morris from their days in Philadelphia, Daniel Theis from their time as teammates in Germany) which should help his acclimation to the team.

Familiarity helps, but ultimately it comes down to how well he plays on the floor.

So what should Celtics expect from this 29-year-old rookie?

GOOD DEFENSE

Because of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, Wanamaker has good size defensively at both guard positions. There will be comparisons made between him and Marcus Smart in part because they both have a similar build, but let’s be clear: Wanamaker is a good defender, but he’s not in the same class defensively as Smart (at least not yet).

SHOT MAKER

Wanamaker is not considered an elite shooter, but he doesn’t suck, either. He shot 36.3 percent from three-point range in Euroleague play which isn’t that far off from what he shot (34.4 percent) during his four years at Pittsburgh. Shooting in the mid-30s from 3-point range would put him behind the likes of Marcus Morris (36.8 percent) and Terry Rozier (38.1 percent), but ahead of Guerschon Yabusele (32.4 percent), Semi Ojeleye (32.0 percent), Daniel Theis (31.0 percent) and Marcus Smart (30.1 percent). Regardless, Wanamaker is good enough to knock down lightly contested threes.

CLUTCH PERFORMER

Wanamaker seems to be at his best when the stakes are high. As a then-rookie in a Euroleague game, Wanamaker rallied his Brose Bamberg team – a team in which he played with current Celtic Daniel Theis – to a comeback win with 18 of his 25 points coming in the final four minutes of play. It was the kind of performance that set the tone for what was an international basketball career full of awards and accolades.

WINNER

Undrafted in 2011, it didn’t take long for Wanamaker to prove his worth against international competition. He has been among the best players in Europe for quite some time, evident by the amount of hardware he has received. The honors for Wanamaker include All-Euroleague Second team (2017); Turkish League champion (2018); Turkish League Finals MVP (2018);  two-time Turkish League All-Star (2017-2018);  two-time German BBL champion (2015-2016) and German BBL Finals MVP (2015). He even found success in his short D-League (now Gatorade League) stint, winning a title with the Austin Toros in 2012.

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Kawhi Leonard injury: Clippers star reportedly expected to play vs. Celtics

Kawhi Leonard injury: Clippers star reportedly expected to play vs. Celtics

All signs are pointing toward one of the NBA's top-five players playing in Wednesday night's showdown between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has missed the last three games with a left knee injury, but ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski have reported the two-time NBA Finals MVP is expected to play versus the C's.

Leonard has played in nine of the Clippers' 14 games this season. Whether he's actually injured or just using load management to keep himself fresh for the playoffs, it's exciting that he's likely to play against a Celtics team with championship aspirations after a strong start to the campaign.

Boston leads the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-2 record and owns the sixth-best defensive rating in the league. Celtics guard Marcus Smart was named to the NBA's All-Defense first team last season, and he's making a compelling case in 2019-20 to be the Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Smart likely will be tasked with guarding Leonard, and that matchup will be awesome to watch. 

Leonard is averaging 26.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and six assists per game this season, and the Clippers are 7-2 with him in the lineup. He's not the only superstar forward the C's must stop, though. Paul George is back after missing the first few weeks of the season. He's averaging 29.3 points in 24.3 minutes over three games.

Marcus Smart reveals his pick for NBA's most unstoppable player>>>

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.

NBA Rumors: These Celtics players are off-limits in trade deadline talks

NBA Rumors: These Celtics players are off-limits in trade deadline talks

The Boston Celtics may need to upgrade their frontcourt if they want to compete with the beasts of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

But to get something good, you need to give something good in return ... and the Celtics don't seem willing to do that at the moment.

Here's what ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported in his column Wednesday about the prospects of Boston trading for a big man before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline:

While one could have some fun with the Trade Machine, Boston has made it clear to anyone who has asked that their core players are absolutely not available. That includes, sources said, both (Gordon) Hayward and (Marcus) Smart, players who have been floated as possible trade chips in the past.

Windhorst didn't confirm who Boston's other "core players" are, but we can fill in the gaps: If Hayward and Smart are off the table, Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren't going anywhere, either.

Can the Celtics really make an upgrade in the frontcourt without moving one of their five best players?

If they do, a trade almost certainly would need to include the Memphis Grizzlies' first-round pick, which is top-six protected for 2020 and is Danny Ainge's best trade chip. The C's also should get the Milwaukee Bucks' first-rounder in addition to their own.

But even if draft picks can lure a big man like Clint Capela, Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge, the Celtics still would have a hard time matching salaries: Outside the five "core players," only Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis (both big men) are making more than $4 million on Boston's roster.

Seven-footers like Joel Embiid and Brook Lopez could pose a problem for the Celtics in the playoffs, so expect Ainge to do his big man due diligence, even as the C's enter Wednesday as the East's No. 1 seed at 11-2. A major trade at the deadline may be easier said than done, though.

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.