The Boston Celtics are in dire need of big man help. What they need most is a big man who can protect the paint and cause opposing teams to fear going in the paint. This year, they had no sense of paint protection. At times 6-foot-9 Jared Sullinger was playing center.
A player who could go on the market with his recent issues is Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks. He had a pretty tough year between injuries and suspensions. Sanders is a 6-foot-11 defensive maestro.
Sanders had to get surgery on his thumb early on in the season, causing him to miss 23 games. Then he was suspended five games for using marijuana before suffering a season-ending orbital bone fracture. He did his best to give the Bucks buyer’s remorse this past season.
If Sanders can walk a straight line he’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate who hasn’t hit his prime. He’s an elite shot-blocker, ranking second in the NBA with 2.8 per game in 2012-13 despite averaging only 27.3 minutes.
When engaged he’s an excellent rebounder (9.5 per game in 2012-13). His presence can make the difference between a team’s defense being strong or stinking, as was the case for the 2012-13 Bucks.
On the Celtics, Sanders would fit perfectly next to Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, who can both stretch the floor a little bit with their shooting ability. So having him wouldn’t clog the lane with two players who have to play around the basket.
He’ll instantly upgrade the Celtics’ defense. On the perimeter everyone will be able to press up and make it hard for the opposing guys to go around knowing that when they get to the rim their shot may be heading into the stands. They’ll have a guy who’s adept at taking charges in Sullinger and someone who is one of the best shot blockers in the NBA in Sanders.
Offensively, you won’t be getting much from him — mostly just dunks and rolls to the basket. His jump shot is close to nonexistent. He shoots a very low free throw percentage, so he could be a liability late in games. While not atrocious from the line, like DeAndre Jordan, he is still a career 56 percent free throw shooter.
As for what the Celtics would have to give up in terms of players and draft picks, they may be able to get Sanders for the No. 17 draft pick and the trade exception from the Paul Pierce trade. They wouldn’t have to give up young players unless the Bucks ask for it.
If they are going to give up a player, the Bucks would likely want either Olynyk or Sullinger along with a draft pick to put alongside John Henson on their frontline.
I think the Celtics should make a run at Sanders so they can have some rim protection and improve the team going into next season even more. He’s a proven commodity unlike anyone in this draft. If he is locked in, Sanders can be first team All-NBA Defense