Just as Achilles had his heel and LeBron James had the final minute of fourth quarters, everyone has their weaknesses. For the Celtics, that weakness is rebounding. Boston averages 38.6 rebounds per game. That is worst in the NBA.
Recent Celtics’ teams have been able to overcome their disadvantage on their boards because of tenacious defense. Boston has consistently ranked in the top five for fewest points allowed the past several years. The Celtics have taken a step back this year however. Doc Rivers’ squad is allowing opponents to score an average of 97.7 points per game. Boston allowed 89.3 ppg last season.
The Celtics cannot continue to give up excessive offensive rebounds and get by. Teams are able to score on their second chance opportunities now.
The problems on the glass likely stem from personnel. At 6-foot-6, Brandon Bass is undersized at power forward. Kevin Garnett is being asked to play out of position at center. Off the bench, Jared Sullinger is still a rookie, and Chris Wilcox has never been known as a rebounder.
The bottom line is the Celtics need help. With any trade doubtful until at least February, reinforcements must come from the free agency market. Two names recently connected with the Celtics are Kenyon Martin and Erick Dampier. With the Celtics only having one spot available, who should they sign?
Dampier most recently played for the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged .1 ppg and 1.7 rpg. Dampier is bigger than Martin, standing at 6-foot-11; and his 285-pound frame would provide size in the post.
Unfortunately for Dampier, the Celtics already have a replica on the roster with Jason Collins. Collins has collected a grand total of nine rebounds, all year.
Even with his size, Dampier doesn’t provide enough rebounding to justify bringing him in. Dampier would just be another wasted roster spot like Collins.
Martin on the other hand could be of use to the Celtics frontcourt. In 42 games for the Los Angeles Clippers, the 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 5.2 ppg and 4.3 rpg last season. Martin also registered one block per game. His ability to protect the rim would serve productive when Garnett is on the bench.
Martin is three years younger than Dampier, and it was only two years ago that he was averaging 9.4 rpg. Where Martin could make his greatest contribution is not on the court though. His tough demeanor and attitude could help spark what has been a soft team.
Doc Rivers was even led to call his team out for being soft following a loss to Brooklyn on Nov. 28. Martin may have numerous labels, but not a single one involves “soft.”
Martin alone would not make the difference for a championship, but he adds another capable body. At this point the Celtics need improvement and any additional depth in the post is welcomed. He would also come at a cheap price, which never hurts.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Martin would drastically increase the Celtics’ tattoo per player average.
In all seriousness though, if Danny Ainge is looking for help, Martin is his man.