Four Realistic Trades the Celtics need to Consider
The 2016 Boston Celtics season has hardly gone as expected. Some may argue that injuries are the root of all of this team’s problems, but that’s short sited. A drop in productivity is to be expected when several key players are out, but not to the extent that has happened to this Celtics team. For example, the starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and Al Horford has only played 39 minutes together this season but are outscoring their opponents by 11 points per 100 possessions. With injuries to Crowder and Horford, Brad was forced to roll with a lineup of Isaiah, Bradley, Brown, Zeller, and Amir. That lineup has been outscored by their opponents by 38.6 points per 100 possessions. That’s a difference of 49.6 per 100 just by adding two second unit players to the lineup.
The starters have played great, but the second unit has been a major liability this year. Once the second unit goes in the offense stagnates and the defense can’t slow anyone down. That’s why it’s time for Danny to use some of his assets he’s been hoarding. This doesn’t mean it’s time for him to break the bank for a star, but a trade does need to be made to fix the depth issue this team has. There a many low to middle tier guys available that could have an immediate impact on our roster, here are a few:
Behind Jae Crowder this team does not have a small forward ready to take on big minutes. Jaylen Brown has shown flashes of someday being a special player, but he also has had too many mental mistakes that have hurt this team. Enter PJ Tucker, the wily veteran out of Phoenix. PJ Tucker is an excellent defender, and although the Suns are 4-10, tucker still maintains a defensive box plus-minus of 2.2. He’s also averaging 1.3 steals per game which would be the second highest on this team. Where he really helps though us is with his rebounding at the 3 spot. The Celtics are currently 21st in rebounds per game. Tucker is averaging 5.4 rebounds per game which would be 4th highest on this team. Tucker would add veteran leadership to this young team and would be a major boost coming off the bench for us.
This Celtics team desperately needs three things: rebounding, hustle, and the ability to get to the free throw line. With those things in mind, they need to prescribed a healthy dose of Manimal. Faried, the 6-8 forward out of Denver, has been relegated to the bench behind two players on the rise in Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic. His minutes have dropped to the lowest since his rookie season and rumors keep swirling about his availability. Faried is still having a great year on the glass despite his diminished minutes. He’s averaging 4.1 offensive boards per game and 10 total rebounds per game. He is also an excellent defender who is averaging 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in only 24 minutes per game. His Nuggets are 4-8 but his defensive box-plus minus is still a staggering 3.3. He can guard positions 3-5 and can also switch in pick and roles. He also improves the Celtics ability to get to the free throw line. The Celtics are 17th in free throw attempts per game and Isaiah Thomas (10) is the only player averaging more than 2 free throw attempts per game. Faried is averaging 3.9 free throw attempts per game. Kenneth Faried is a perfect fit for the Celtics and a player Ainge should definitely consider to bolster the roster.
Willie Cauley-Stein was the player I was banging the table for in the 2015 draft. He’s still very young at only 23 years old and has a very manageable contract at $3.7 million per year. The reason why he may be traded is because he’s buried on the roster behind Demarcus Cousins, Skal Labissiere and Kosta Koufos. Because of this he’s only managed to play 13 minutes per game. His per 36 numbers are outstanding though. Per 36 he’s averaging 14.2 points, 1.2 blocks, 1.2 steals and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s great in the pick and roll on both ends of the floor and is one of the best bigs in transition in the NBA right now. The size and athleticism he possesses are a rare combination and should definitely draw Danny’s attention.
He’s a headache, often times a distraction. He’s been called lazy, a pot head, a bust; but he can still put the ball in the bucket. The Celtics are 19th in the NBA in points per contest. Part of that is because they lack a spark plug off the bench. Gerald Green was supposed to be that guy but he just hasn’t showed up this year. Say what you want about Michael Beasley, but adding him would pay dividends to the Boston Celtics. Beasley can play both the 3 and the 4, the two positions where we need most help. This season he’s shooting 51% from the floor and 38% from three. Per 36 he’s averaging 21.2 points, and 7.5 rebounds per outing. Beasley is a low risk high reward pay-off for Danny and immediately addresses a significant issue with this team.
Written by: Alex Bernstein (@FansTakeSports)