One year ago, the addition of Colton Iverson would have been a much bigger deal for the Boston Celtics than it is now. Since the loss of fan-favorite and work-horse Kendrick Perkins in 2011, the Celtics have been greatly lacking in big men. Even after attempting an overkill solution via signing Shaquille O’Neal in 2010, the paint has been a tumultuous place for the Celtics.
In fact, many blame the Celtics’ lack of success following their legendary 2008 season to the absence of a solid, go-to center. Personally, I always felt Boston was merely a rebounding five away from yet another finals appearance. That brings us to today. Now that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have left town, it seems as though Danny Ainge has taken a “way-too-much, way-too-late” strategy. The Celtics now have Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Vitor Faverani, Chris Wilcox, Donte Greene and now Colton Iverson. All rebounding bigs, this odd crop of players now represents the Celtics’ immediate future in the paint.
Despite the fact none of the players listed above are big-name All Stars, Iverson gets lost in the mix. Iverson doesn’t even play for the Celtics currently, and is a member of Besiktas, a Turkish ballclub where he can expect more playing time than he would get in the NBA.
However, Iverson is still under contract with the Celtics and can play next season if he so chooses. Should he decide to play in the big leagues in Boston, he could prove to be invaluable. Although Iverson can no longer reap the benefits of Doc Rivers‘ leadership and Garnett’s guidance, his presence could do a great deal for the Celtics.
Iverson stands at all of 7-foot tall, and not the scrawny, uncoordinated 7-foot, either. In his senior season at Colorado State University, Iverson averaged 14 points and nine rebounds.
While averaging a near double-double in college is little more than good, his real value to the Celtics appears especially great when you view the next two years. I sincerely doubt Boston will have a great deal of success with most of their new big men. All of them are certainly hard workers who can help in the paint, but some will be cut by the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Iverson will have just come back from what will most likely be a dominant season in Turkey, gaining as much skill as muscle only to return to a Celtics team in need of a backup five.
If all goes as I expect, Iverson will be in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills.
Iverson is a tough player with a great work ethic. Expect him to grit and grind his way to relevance in Boston.