What last-minute free agent signing brings to the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics free agent target Lamar Stevens. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics free agent target Lamar Stevens. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics have finally filled their last available roster spot with former Cleveland Cavalier forward Lamar Stevens. The spot had been rumored to go to players like Blake Griffin, T.J. Warren, and even Austin Rivers but ultimately, Stevens got the nod, adding defensive wing depth to the team.

After an offseason that saw two high-level defenders, Marcus Smart, and Grant Williams, depart for new teams, it makes sense why Stevens was the preferred option in the eyes of Brad Stevens. Last year, for the Cavaliers, Stevens averaged 5.3 points, 0.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game.

While those stats won’t blow anyone away, as previously mentioned, most of his value comes on the defensive end of the court. And despite averaging just over five points and being a defensive first bench player, his career high is 23 points. So the offense isn’t just a complete non-factor.

Versatility a major feature of Boston Celtics offseason signings

The Boston Celtics have also recently signed Svi Mykhailiuk, who shot 42.4% from three last season. So depending on what the Celtics need during a particular game, Stevens and Mykhailiuk now give them more versatility coming off the bench.

On March 6th, 2023, when the Celtics were visiting Cleveland to take on the Cavs, Stevens was a standout performer. He had the highest plus/minus in the game at +18 while also contributing some valuable hustle plays, which ultimately led to a Cavaliers comeback victory in overtime. While he isn’t the same caliber of player as Marcus Smart or Grant Williams, Stevens’s hustle plays can be that spark plug off the bench. Something that both Smart and Williams brought to basically every single game, which can’t be undervalued.

It will be interesting to see how and when the Boston Celtics use their plethora of wings. A combination of Lamar Stevens, Svi Mykhailiuk, Oshae Brissett, and Jordan Walsh can provide the team with length, defense, or shooting. And now, with such good depth, Joe Mazzulla should have no problems giving extra rest to Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown in order to preserve those two for what is hoped to be an extended playoff run.