By A.Sherrod Blakely
The Boston Celtics were one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA a year ago, so it stands to reason that getting some help on the boards is a major priority this offseason. While this free agency class isn't rife with power forward studs, there are some that could fit in nicely with the Celtics as they try and put together a roster looking to make a run at Banner 18.
Here are some names to keep an eye on heading into free agency.
Top available power forwards (team they played with last season): Glen Davis (Boston); Brian Scalabrine (Chicago); Kenyon Martin (Denver); Chris Wilcox (Detroit); Louis Amudson (Golden State); Vladimir Radmonovic (Golden State); Chuck Hayes (Houston); Jeff Foster (Indiana); Craig Smith (LAClippers); Leon Powe (Memphis); Kris Humphries (New Jersey); Carl Landry (New Orleans); Reggie Evans (Toronto); Yi Jianlian (Washington)
Best of the bunch: Davis, Landry, Martin, Humphries and Hayes.
Best fits for the C's: Davis, Landry or Evans.
Why Davis? He knows the Celtics way of doing things better than anyone other free agent power forward. And you have to believe that there's a part of him that doesn't want to go out the way he did in the playoffs. As we've seen in his time in Boston, a focused, ready-to-play Glen Davis can be an impact player on so many levels. The issues become whether Davis' salary demands will be too high for the Celtics' liking, and whether he'll be comfortable with coming off the bench for the C's for at least another season behind Kevin Garnett. He has shown at times to want his role to be expanded even more so than it currently stands.
Why Landry? One of the more underrated players in the NBA, Landry is one of the best at getting you buckets off the bench. Despite starting just 20 percent of the games in his career, the four-year veteran is a 12.1 points per game scorer who shoots a sweltering 54.1 percent from the field. Because of his talent and experience level, the Celtics will have plenty of competition in trying to woo Landry. The biggest concern with Landry is his defense. His man-to-man isn't too shabby, but it's too soon to tell how he would fare in Boston's help-side defensive schemes.
Why Evans? The Celtics may find taller, more athletic big men than Evans, but they would be hard-pressed to find one who works any harder. His game is extremely limited, but his ability to score around the basket, keep loose balls alive all game long, would stand out on a Celtics team like this while coming off the bench. The C's have plenty of players who fall into the Jack-of-all-trades category. Versatility is important, but having players who provide a certain skillset - like Evans' rebounding, for example - is equally valuable to a team's quest at winning a championship.
Others deserving strong consideration: Martin, Humphries, Hayes, Wilcox and Amundson.