Although the Boston Celtics have been “surprisingly” victorious as of late grabbing some big wins with key losses to the rotation, they need to solve their front line issues in one way or another. They are lacking in size and it’s questionable if the small ball formula will remain successful down the road. Even if they continue to play at a decent competitive level with what they have, the front court depth will still remain a worrisome issue for the Celtics chances to continue their winning ways.
Turning in-house to solve the size issues still remains a question. Behind Kevin Garnett the Celtics are left with the skeleton of Jason Collins, a semi-healthy Chris Wilcox, and overly raw rookie Fab Melo. Garnett isn’t even a natural center as is but that really hasn’t been the Celtics’ formula as of late. They’ve been using hybrid guys like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to fill in most of those valuable and ever so fragile minutes when Garnett is off the floor. Neither Bass or Green could really be considered a true “big.” Although they have gotten by, it’s still not anything resembling a solution.
Both Collins and Wilcox have shown tiny glimpses of something almost viable to fill in behind the 37 year old hall-of -famer, but the moments of anything positive are surrounded by question marks. Wilcox offers the Celtics a much needed active big body when he gets the minutes and gets in basketball shape, the trouble is… those times are few and far between to say the least.
Collins has shown considerably less promise than Wilcox, but if he can simply adapt to clogging the paint a little more and owning the glass more the Celtics could solve some issues with what they already have…It just doesn’t seem like Collins has the ability to inherit that responsibility yet, and any signs of growth or improvement in his role have been minuscule or entirely non-existent.
It’s beginning to look more and more like the Celtic’s may miss Jared Sullinger even more then they had originally planned. Last night the Celtics’ bigs got into early foul trouble across the board and the lights are still simply too bright to give Melo any minutes of even the slightest importance, which indeed almost happened. He’s lost defensively and completely out of his league aside from his size, he surely has some potential but the developmental process may take years. Wilcox’s health could be key down the stretch here, and maybe that’s why Doc Rivers has been bringing him back so slowly after a thumb injury.
The trouble with Wilcox is right when his consistency starts coming back he routinely and almost inevitably gets a nagging injury that keeps him out of basketball shape and rhythm.
Danny Ainge is obviously looking for a relevant and “good enough” player to add to this front line, it’s just a question of what he has to give up. The choices are limited and there’s no need for simple filler, they need someone to truly contribute. There aren’t a lot of quick solutions, but it’s plain to see the issue is in dire need of resolution.