It’s become a nearly annual ritual for Boston Celtics fans — that is, the trick of figuring out how to fill out a proper depth chart with multiple options in the frontcourt. Back in 2019-20, after an exodus of big men like Al Horford and Aron Baynes, the Cs relied on a platoon of Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, Robert Williams III, Vincent Poirier, and Tacko Fall.
That was enough to get Boston to the Eastern Conference finals, but the following season, the same issue reset. Tristan Thompson was signed to alleviate the issue, yet the Celtics proceeded to take a step back and won a single postseason game during the 2021 postseason.
In 2021-22, the issue was seemingly fixed with the return of Horford to the starting five alongside Robert Williams III. Newly implemented President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens even brought Theis back into the fold as well. A Finals appearance was the result, but the Cs ended up moving Theis in the offseason for Malcolm Brogdon, and Williams wound up on the injured reserve for the first 8-12 weeks of the 2022-23 season.
Back to square one. The Boston Celtics are currently searching for a center option to get them through a stretch that will feature ‘The Timelord’ on the shelf as well as Luke Kornet, who sprained his ankle. Blake Griffin was brought on, but he isn’t a true center. Mfioundu Kabengele could contribute on his two-way deal, but again, not a true center. Throw Noah Vonleh into that mix as a true power forward who’d be pitching at the pivot.
If the Cs want to find an ideal true center to play spot minutes with Williams out, they don’t have to look far. Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens, ever the fan of reunions, can bring back former rotation big man Aron Baynes. Baynes has miraculously recovered from a traumatic cervical epidural hematoma, defined as a condition occurs when a blood vessel ruptures leading to the creation of a loculated bleed, suffered during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which took place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chowder and Champions’ Raj Lavadi, who is also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery, at the Washington University School of Medicine and taught the Houdini the gritty specifics regarding Baynes’ injury, advocated for the Boston Celtics to bring the Aussie big man back:
"“It remains to be known if Baynes will return to the NBA, but his willingness and desire shows that he has the heart of a champion. All sports fans are incredibly happy to see him play basketball again. We at Chowder and Champions hope he eventually gets picked up by an NBA team (please be the Celtics) very soon.”"
The Boston Celtics must embrace small-ball as currently constructed
By signing Blake Griffin over the likes of Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Boston Celtics committed to a faster, more spaced out style of play on the offensive end of the floor. By deciding against a combo big known for taking charges instead of a classic rim protector, the Cs are preparing for an increased focus on the transition game as opposed to a half-court plod.
That’s all well and good if Boston’s plan is to run teams off the floor, which is probably a good use of their existing personnel.