Celtics free agent primer: Power forwards


Celtics free agent primer: Power forwards

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.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"


Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"

Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talk with Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens at Celtics Media Day about raised expectations for the upcoming season, how Al Horford will fit, can Isaiah Thomas build off an All-Star season, and how high are his goals. 

Plus, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss whether or not some critiscism could come Stevens' way if the Celtics doesn't perform well in the playoffs.

MORE PODCAST Isaiah Thomas: ‘Just getting to the playoffs in Boston isn’t good enough’

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C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary


C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

WALTHAM -- The national anthem protests by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have had an undeniable ripple effect on professional sports teams across the country. And that includes the Boston Celtics.
“We as an organization know what’s going on,” said Marcus Smart. “We read and see and hear about it every day. It’s a sensitive subject for everybody.”
While it’s unlikely that Celtics players will do something similar to Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, there’s no question some are figuring out the best way to utilize their platform as athletes to express their views on current social issues.
“Us athletes have to take advantage of the stage we’re on,” said Jae Crowder. “Try to make a positive out it. You can’t fix negative problems with negative energy. I don’t want to do anything negative; I want to do something positive, shed light on the situation.”
Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and a number of professional athletes have tried to have more attention paid to recent killings of African-Americans by police officers where, based on the video footage, it appears excessive or unnecessary force was used.
It is a topic that has brought a wide range of responses from many in the sports world, including the dean of NBA coaches, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
During the Spurs’ media day this week, he was asked about the Kaepernick’s protests.
“I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done,” Popovich told reporters. “The question is whether it will do any good or not because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure, no matter how you look at it.”
As examples of the political pressure he was referring to, Popovich mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ability to galvanize group, as well as the NBA and other organizations pulling their events out of the state of North Carolina because of its legislation as it relates to the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
“The important thing that Kaepernick and others have done is keep it in the conversation,” Popovich said.
And while there may be differing opinions as to whether Kaepernick or any other athlete should be protesting, the one common thread that seems to bind the Celtics players and the front office is them having the right to speak out not only as professional athletes, but Americans.
“The biggest thing is we all really value the freedoms that we have and that we’ve been allotted,” said coach Brad Stevens, who added that he has had individual discussions with players on this subject. “We certainly support an individual’s freedoms. It’s been great to engage in those discussions. It’s been really fun for me how excited our guys are about using their platform.”
And that more than anything else is why Crowder feels the Celtics have to have a united front as far as the message they present to the masses.
“If we want change we have to do it together,” Crowder said. “I feel like those guys (other athletes) used their platforms well. I think more athletes should do the same. You can’t do it with any hatred; you can’t do it with any negative. You have to do it with positive energy.”