With a little over a month until the Boston Celtics tip-off at Madison Square Garden, Brad Stevens confirmed the final player that will make up the 15-man roster ahead of training camp. After spending three seasons in Cleveland with the upstart Cavaliers since coming out of Penn State, Lamar Stevens moves to Boston with an opportunity to contribute to a championship team. Prior to the reported move, the 26-year-old wing was shortly part of the San Antonio Spurs organization following the Cavs’ sign and trade deal for Max Strus.
The now-current Celtic appeared once out of the four times Joe Mazzulla’s team matched up with the wine and gold. He netted eight points while collecting eight rebounds on 3/5 shooting from the floor in a bench role in that one appearance.
About a month ago it was reported that the Boston Celtics were working out numerous role players to fill this final spot. Despite his ineffectiveness in a halfcourt offense, the 17-time NBA champions turned to the Philadelphia native to bring that sort of grit that went missing due to notable departures this offseason. He is not that offensive sparkplug off the bench that TJ Warren or even Glenn Robinson III may have been, but that is not really what this ball club needs.
Here are three reasons why the undrafted forward should slide seamlessly into this somewhat new-look Boston Celtics team.
3 reasons why former Cavaliers’ wing Lamar Stevens fits with the Boston Celtics
1. His defensive effort, size, and athleticism
It goes without saying that Boston’s defense lost a whole lot of heart over the past few months. Despite the fact that is contract is currently partially guaranteed, it is being reported that the Celts eye Stevens to cover up some of what was lost. With a little over 18 minutes per game between the white lines last season, the wing made the opposition work to get off every shot. Even when it sits in a position where some may think he has no shot to get there, his size finds a way.
At six-foot-six with a six-foot-nine wingspan, and over 225 pounds, the former No. 8 in Cleveland has the length and strength to take on the toughest assignments on the floor. He has extremely quick hands on the perimeter and does not hesitate to finish in transition on the other end. The jumping ability is also something that should intrigue fans. Back in 2020, the 2018 NIT MVP posted the fourth-highest vertical in the NBA Draft Combine. He tied the former C’s Summer Leaguer Udoka Azubuike with a 41-inch max vertical leap.
2. Doesn’t have high usage on offense
Top to bottom, this team can score with the best of them. Kristaps Porzingis makes one of the league’s best regular season offenses last season even more elite. To fill out the roster, there was not need to add more scoring, making the six-foot-six forward the right player.
When called upon, Mazzulla is not going to be asking for much in the halfcourt offense from the Pennsylvania native. There are plenty of assets that can put the ball in the basket. It is not like he doesn’t have anything in his bag. At times, flashes of brilliance appear. In green and white, that could be a normal occurrence.
If Warren were to fill this role, he would seek an unrealistic offensive workload. Stevens took just under 4.7 shots on average during his time on the floor with the Cavs in the prior campaign. He is not going to be taking shots away from other stars on the team, and with his shooting getting better year after year, the Penn State alumnus could potentially space the floor.
3. Has filled holes before at an NBA-level
This by no means indicates Stevens is a washed-up veteran. He used to net 18 to 19 points in his prime. Stevens is not someone that is unfamiliar with being in a starting position either. When injuries happen, like they did at times for Cleveland last season, Stevens was there. No Jarrett Allen, no problem. J.B. Bickerstaff simply plugged in the former Penn State star into the lineup.
Though it’s not the everyday answer, the three-year professional by no means significantly impacts his team in a negative way given more time on the floor. Sam Hauser is the more likely wing to serve in a starting role this upcoming season, but it is good to know the newcomer in Boston can serve as one of the 10 on the floor for the opening tip.
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