The Celtics have had a solid offseason thus far, bringing in Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, drafting Jared Sullinger and re-signing Kevin Garnett. However, one position that failed to thoroughly be addressed was the center spot. General manager Danny Ainge may soon be changing that. According to CSNNE, the Celtics are the leading candidate to sign Serbian big man, Darko Milicic.
This would be much needed for a team that has struggled in the paint for the past several seasons. While Milicic has never lived up to the hype of being the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, he’s got one thing Boston desperately needs. Size. At 7-foot-1 and 275 pounds, Milicic is a physical presence in the post. Most importantly, this well help lessen the burden placed on Kevin Garnett’s knees and body to play heavy minutes at center.
It is well known around the NBA circle that Garnett hates playing center, despite his productivity at the position toward the tail end of last season. That makes it likely the future Hall-of-Famer will slide back down to the four spot, at least to begin the year.
As it currently stands, Chris Wilcox would appear to be the leading man to play center. Considering he is coming off a season in which he played 17 games and had open heart surgery, that proposition is quite scary. The Celtics signed Jason Collins, but he only averaged 10.3 minutes per game last year. It’s unlikely that he would be ready to seriously contribute to a championship contending team. Rookie Fab Melo is no where close to being able to play NBA minutes either.
Milicic is only two season removed from starting 69 games for Minnesota, averaging nearly 9 points and 5 rebounds a game. While those numbers are not eye popping, he can at least make defenses respect him. Playing alongside the NBA’s assist leader in Boston wouldn’t hurt his statistical production either.
With the free agent market starting to become barren like the desert, Ainge may have yet again found a cup of water. Perhaps some big man lessons with Garnett will finally unleash Milicic’s second pick potential.