Celtics Question of the Day: Did C's improve more in frontcourt or backcourt?


Celtics Question of the Day: Did C's improve more in frontcourt or backcourt?

The Boston Celtics added lots of talent across the board with between their guards and some much-needed size.

But where did the C's improve the most, on the perimeter or in the frontcourt?

While there's clearly more sizzle with the talent Boston added in the backcourt, there's no question the substance of the Celtics' frontcourt has been significantly upgraded.

Consider this: The Celtics went into the playoffs last season with rookie Greg Stiemsma along with Ryan Hollins and Sean Williams as their backup centers.

Fast forward to this season's squad. Even if you take away Boston's top two big men off the bench -- Chris Wilcox and, most likely, Jarred Sullinger -- that still leaves the C's with Darko Milicic, Jason Collins and rookie first-round pick Fab Melo.

I know. It doesn't exactly wow me, either. But considering what the Celtics had to work with during the playoffs last season, there's little doubt that this year's trio of backup big men behind the backups is better.

For all of Milicic's shortcomings as a player, he has proven to be a solid shot-blocker. He averaged two blocked shots per game during the 2010-2011 season, which ranked fifth in the NBA.

Jason Collins has the size and strength to be an asset against some of the league's more powerful centers like Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers and Andrew Bynum of the Philadelphia 76ers.

While Melo is very much a work in progress, his greatest quality while in college at Syracuse University was his defense and shot-blocking.

The key additions Boston made in the backcourt were Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

Lee will start with Avery Bradley (shoulder), who's not expected back at the start of the season, and Terry will reprise his reserve role in Dallas as a high-impact sixth man off the C's bench.

Having both around will soften the blow of not having Bradley at the start of the season. In addition, they will also help fill the gaping hole left behind when Ray Allen decided to sign with the Miami Heat this summer.

As important as guard play will be to Boston's success, having enough frontcourt depth will be vital to Boston having the kind of postseason they envision.

In the C's seven-game series loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston was plus-1 on the boards in their three wins. And in their four losses, the Celtics were out-rebounded by 30.

A big part of those struggles on the boards had to do with the C's having to go deeper into its frontcourt pool than intended.

But this season, the Celtics have addressed that clear area of weakness. Boston not only has enough bigs to compete. The Celtics now have enough bigs -- behind their primary bigs -- to make a legitimate charge at the only thing this franchise cares about: Banner 18.