The other day, the Boston Celtics official website ran a piece entitled Five Players Have Case To Be Boston’s Starting Center.
If nothing, the piece encourages an awful lot of debate. Nonsensical debate, of course – is anyone out there REALLY hoping to see Joel Anthony or Jared Sullinger start at center for the Celtics on a regular basis this season? – but debate nevertheless.
For those of us with basketball IQs larger than our shoe size, there are really only two legitimate options when it comes to who will be starting at center for the Boston Celtics this season: Tyler Zeller, and Vitor Faverani.
According to this piece over at Bleacher Report, Zeller may not be the sort of players Boston Celtics fans would consider a building block . . . but he’s a decent player who will be an asset to the Celtics should the team use him properly, something the Cleveland Cavaliers failed to do last season.
Zeller is the type of center who can run with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart in transition. At North Carolina, he was infamous for his transition reads and ability to fill lanes while sure-handedly accepting passes in motion. Those hands are key with a creative distributor like Rondo wheeling and dealing on the move.
He gets a bit leak-happy on defense, especially when he isn’t involved in a play. As soon as a shot goes up from a different part of the court, he has already slipped behind his man and gotten a jump-start on the fast break. This isn’t always ideal and can definitely lead to negative offensive rebounds.
However, if he is being paired with Sullinger in the starting lineup, those negatives can potentially be evened out because of how board-hungry and sure-handed Sullinger is. Rondo is also a big plus-rebounder, and having his big out in transition already would be interesting to see.
Pairing a big man who runs the floor well with the best passing point guard in the NBA certainly has its appeal, now doesn’t it? And even though Zeller isn’t known for his defense, remember: he will be working with Brad Stevens, which means he WILL improve on the defensive end of the court.
On the other hand, the Boston Celtics have another big man with possibly the coolest nickname in professional sports today: Vitor Faverani, better known as El Hombre Indestructible. Vitor has the sort of frame that discourages opponents to foray into the paint on a regular basis, and at times last season he provided Celtics’ fans with plenty of optimism that he could be the rim-protecting big man this team desperately needs. (His 12 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 blocks in Boston’s second game of the year, for example.) Faverani is coming off of a knee injury, however, and there are still an awful lot of question marks about how consistent he can produce over an 82-game season.
Neither Zeller nor Faverani may be dream candidates, but there certainly are worse options out there, so vote! Who do you want to see starting at center for the Boston Celtics this season?