Adding even more height: A look at the latest Celtics free agent addition

In the midst of free agency drama, the Celtics signed their second player since the Kristaps Porziņģis trade by agreeing to a deal with guard Dalano Banton (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
In the midst of free agency drama, the Celtics signed their second player since the Kristaps Porziņģis trade by agreeing to a deal with guard Dalano Banton (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

In the midst of free agency drama, the Boston Celtics signed their second player via free agency since the Porziņģis trade, agreeing to a deal with another long and lengthy perimeter player. 

If you show out against the Celtics, Brad Stevens seems to take note. Not only does he take note, but he goes out after the season and adds them to his team. Oshae Brissett had 27 points in February 2022 while Boston’s latest member, Dalano Banton, scored 10 points in just three minutes during a blowout loss at the TD Garden late last season. Even with his ball club down big in the fourth quarter, the former Nebraska guard shot 4/4 from the floor, knocking down two threes in the process. Whether that was the deciding factor or not, Banton heads to the Celts having competed in 95 regular season contests in two campaigns for the Toronto Raptors.

As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Brad Stevens and Co. have signed free agent guard and the former second-round pick in 2021 Banton to a two-year contract. The clear goal of this window during the offseason is to create a squad with much more length and height. It started before the draft and continued during draft night, and now is rolling into the free agency period.

Each player that Boston has secured so far since they dealt Marcus Smart is six-foot-seven or taller. Neither Oshae Brissett nor Banton shot the long ball all that well, but both are Toronto natives that are young with plenty of areas to improve. Banton is not a finished product, but his size is staggering for the position that he plays. At six-foot-nine, the former 46th overall selection lit up the G-League last year in 14 games. Banton netted nearly 19 points per game while accounting for 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists each time out in addition to some impressive defensive numbers.

Some make him out to be a poor defender, but he still adds value through blocks and steals. Banton’s No. 1 strength is his cutting. He ranked in the 96th percentile off cuts in 2022-2023, scoring over 53% of his points inside the painted area last season. He enjoys attacking the opponent in transition, rarely slowing down the pace in order for his teammates to catch up.

Dalano Banton has the potential to be a solid rotational piece going forward for the Celtics

Masai Ujiri knew he was an incredible talent, but if his side wanted to move forward, they could not have a roster full of players that are unreliable from beyond the arc. He is someone that is full of pace and energy, and if he spends time with this loaded coaching staff, the guard could very well rebound from a season in which he only played in 32 games at the NBA level. It is evident that Banton can succeed at the G-League level. The next few months of work off the court could decide what his first season looks like in Boston.

He already knows how to create space with and without the ball in the halfcourt. Now, it is time to perfect a competent jump shot of his own. This is not professional European football, so loaning out Banton is not an option. The hope is that the exposure with intelligent coaches, and some of the NBA’s best wings assist in molding into the player that many think he has the potential to be.

If Pritchard stays, he slots in as the fourth point guard, but in reality, Banton is not limited to just that position. While the former Raptor is not a signing that will not jump off the page, Banton is a player that fills a need and has the upside to become somewhat of an X-factor on both ends of the floor.