All right, Boston Celtics fans:
Those of us who watched more than one Boston Celtics game this season understand all too well that the Cs went without a true center for the majority of the season once rookie Vitor Faverani was shut down due to injury. As much as I admire Kris Humphries and his willingness to bang bodies with players such as Zach Randolph, DeMarcus Cousins, and other big-bodied men, Hump was not built for such work and was being set up for failure night in and night out. Really, the entire Celtics team was set up for failure, as the men in green and white were routinely dominated in the paint and on the glass.
Acquiring a true center, then, has to be a priority for Boston during the offseason . . . but unless the Celtics are lucky enough to see Joel Embiid still on the board when it is their time to pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, the team will have to look to trade or free agency in order to land the rim-protector and inside force it so desperately needs.
Enter Spencer Hawes?
Hawes is set to become a free agent this summer, which naturally piqued my curiosity, since he is one of only a few centers currently set to do so.
I don’t profess to being a huge Cleveland Cavaliers fan, though, so I can’t make much of an argument for or against the Celtics going out and getting Hawes. Instead, I reached out to Chris Manning, the editor over at Right Down Euclid, to hear what he thought about Cleveland’s big man:
Strengths: Hawes is an effective offensive center. He’s best paired with with guards who are strong in the pick and roll, like Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. While he’s not ever going your leading scorer or be the focal point of your attack, he really only helps your offense. With his ability to shoot from deep (Hawes is a career 39.1 percent shooter from three) and fluidity in the pick and roll, he’s a definite offensive weapon.His pick and roll ability, in particular, is what makes him useful. He’s excellent at finding his spot while rolling and also doesn’t force anything. He won’t even be confused with Marc Gasol, but Hawes is a solid passer out of the high post. On a team that can maximize what he does well while hiding his defensive short comings, he can a consistent threat. For what he’ll likely earn in free agency (my guess would be around $7 million a year), you’ll get good value out of him.
Defense: Hawes is downright dreadful on defense and this makes him a largely dimensional player. When he was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the report on him was that he really didn’t put a ton of effort into his defense. With the Cavs, he seemingly put in more effort, but this isn’t someone you can count on to anchor your defense or defend elite centers on the block. You have to hide him as much as you can on the defensive end of the floor and this lessens his value overall.The other knock on Hawes is that despite standing a legit 7’0″, his rebounding is only an average. For his career, Hawes in averaging 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. This past season, Hawes was 88th in the league in this category, and overall he’s viable to get bullied by more physical centers. In every sense of the word, Hawes is a finesse center and while it has it’s uses, it pegs him into certain roles and overall makes him less worth your time.Hawes’ Future: What you saw from Hawes this past year sums about where his ceiling his. At 25, he’s been in the NBA six years and is past the point where he is going to evolve in any notable way. Unless he’s made into a bench player on a good team, Hawes has a future as a 13 and nine player on bad teams. There’s nothing wrong with that (someone has to do it) but that’s what he is now. I don’t see much room for growth here. If I were a GM, this would make me less likely to offer him any sort of significant money.Fit with Boston: Before Rich e-mailed me, I hadn’t even considered Hawes landing in Boston. Depending on who the Celtics draft, it could be an interesting fit. If they end up with someone like Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh. I think Hawes would be worth a look and a trio of Jared Sullinger, Randle/Vonleh and Hawes next season would be solid. If the Celtics were to land Andrew Wiggins, Hawes would be worth a look. But if the Celtics were to land a Jabari Parker type player, I would stay clear of Hawes. For at least the first few years of his NBA career, Parker is going to be bad on defense and you don’t want a sieve like Hawes backing him in the middle. All things considered, if I were running the Celtics, I would wait to decide on making a run at Hawes until after the draft.