Jonas Jerebko had a great postseason, but will that be enough to convince the Celtics to bring him back?
One of the burning questions surrounding the Boston Celtics this off-season is what they should do with Jonas Jerebko. He has a $5 million team option for next season and is coming off a very good postseason. His three-point shooting got the Celtics back on track for a couple of games and he ended up starting four of the six postseason games after not starting one in the regular season.
Jerebko’s regular season was somewhat forgettable. He played in 78 games and saw 15.1 minutes per contest, however, he posted a mediocre 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He did shoot 39.8 percent from behind the arc but only shot 41.3 percent from the field.
He didn’t have a terrible regular season but he rarely had a big game and was mostly seen as a player who didn’t make a lot of mistakes and would give the starters rest. Every team needs players like that but Jerebko seemed replaceable this off-season.
Now it’s not a sure thing after his performance in the postseason. He played nearly double the minutes (27 MPG) and contributed 9.2 points and 6.8 boards per game. Jerebko only shot 31.8 percent from three but he added a new dimension to the Celtics’ offense in the playoffs as his play had flashbacks of his productive rookie season with the Detroit Pistons in 2009-10.
He was the difference maker in the Celtics two wins against the Atlanta Hawks and that might have sealed the deal about him coming back. Besides, his $5 million option will be nearly non-existent with the salary cap increase this off-season.
Also, it’s unlikely that Boston would find someone who fits their system as well as he does. The Celtics love to run and take threes, and that’s what Jerebko does best.
The high-energy, 6’10” power forward adds size to an undersized team and he spreads the floor as well as anyone. He’s not going to be a major contributor on the glass, however, he’s a better rebounder than people give him credit for. He doesn’t see a lot of minutes but he rebounds at a very efficient rate – 8.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, career-high.
His rebounding was showcased during the playoffs when he and Amir Johnson were the main front court options. His per 36 minutes average went up to 9.1 as he adapted to his bigger role well. His postseason showed Boston that he can thrive in any role but he knows what the Celtics need from him because he plays within himself and doesn’t try to do too much.
The Celtics don’t need him to score 20 points or be a rim protector, they need him to help space the floor and not be a liability on defense. In the playoffs, the Celtics needed Jerebko to take more responsibility on offense and he ran with the opportunity. He’s able to adapt to any role and adds versatility to the roster as he played from small forward to center last season.
Even though his floor spacing and three-point shot get a lot of the attention, Jerebko is a factor inside on offense. He’s not a back to the basket player but he attempts 34.3 percent of his shots from inside of three feet, and converts 53.1 percent of his shots in that range.
More from Hardwood Houdini
- Boston Celtics’ two-way contract decision will be made after training camp
- Proposed trade sends Boston Celtics playoff killer to the Cs from rival
- ‘Face of Germany’s stunning run’ in FIBA World Cup not the only ex-Boston Celtics player to win gold
- Proposed Boston Celtics trade target pitched for reunion with fired coach
- Battle For Banner 18: Will Boston Celtics battle historical foe in 2024 Finals?
Despite Jonas Jerebko fitting well into the Celtics’ system, and already having an established role, a downside is he will cut into Jordan Mickey‘s minutes. Mickey has the potential to be the rim protector the Celtics need, however, the Celtics’ front court was too deep last season so he never had a chance to prove himself.
The fact of the matter is Jerebko’s option is almost too good to pass up but he is replaceable. He’s not going to impact the game in the same way he did during the playoffs last season, but you know the impact he’ll have on the game.
Jerebko does more than shoot threes but he primarily plays on the three-point line on offense. If the Celtics draft Dragan Bender then they probably don’t need a third stretch four on their roster. Boston would be better off finding an established veteran who plays in the paint to compliment their three-point shooting.
Jerebko is a high-energy player that is efficient and can space the floor, although, people may be looking into his performances in the postseason too much. It comes down to whether the Celtics believe Jerebko can be a key player in a championship run or if they want to develop Jordan Mickey and bring in a post player via free agency.