The Boston Celtics are starting the season off looking well. They are in a position to make a deep run in the playoffs. Boston recently moved up into #6 in Marc Stein ESPN power rankings this week with the help of Isaiah Thomas’ astonishing career high 52 point performance in Miami. They’re in the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings and are looking to compete with the Cavaliers when the time comes.
Boston is a good team this year but is still unable to beat the top tier teams in the league. They have key losses coming from the Rockets, Warriors, Cavaliers, Spurs, Raptors, Thunder, and they have yet to beat ANY of those teams. Key losses to those teams don't mean they’re not good, it means they are missing a good additional piece to the roster.
The Celtics roster is one of the most complete rosters in the NBA. Potential All-Star Isaiah Thomas is a franchise PG that’s averaging 27.7 PPG, with 6 assists per game. Avery Bradley is one of the best premier defensive players in the league right now and his shooting percentage is incredible at 48.1 percent and 40% from the 3 pt line.
Jae Crowder is in the second tier of good small forwards that can defend and shoot 3s, he’s also a good shooter, shooting 48 percent and 41 % from the 3 pts line.
One of the most proficient centers in the game Al Horford, who is still capable of putting up stat line numbers. That’s only 4 out of the 5 position in the starting lineup. There’s a problem, only one problem... and that’s finding a dominate PF that can help them compete with those top tier teams in the NBA.
The #3 team in the East needs to figure out what they're going to do to upgrade at the PF position. Currently, Amir Johnson is the starting PF and he’s not a legitimate starting PF. Amir Johnson ranks 31st in Power Forward efficiency rating, according to ESPN Hollinger. Amir Johnsons’ numbers this year: 6.5 PTS shooting 54.3. % (All time career low) and 4.2 REB.
The Celtics would be a better team if they upgrade at the Power Forward position. Boston previously played the Utah Jazz, and Amir Johnson was the only player in the starting lineup to have single digit points. This is his fifth straight game without scoring double-digit points. Amir Johnson isn’t a big rebound either, and he’s an average defensive PF, with his RPM (Real Plus Minus) at 1.34 and ranked #19 out of all power forwards.
With the trade deadline coming up, the Boston Celtics have to figure something out before they leap into the playoffs with a bad starting PF. There are trade rumors that the Celtics are looking at Paul Millsap for a possible reunion with former front court teammate Al Horford. That trade would be a problem. Last year, the Atlanta Hawks couldn’t get past the Cavaliers because that two men front court tandem didn’t work, they were too small and getting out muscled.
Here’s the perfect solution: move Al Horford to the power forward position (that’s a better fit for him) and it will make him better defensively, and improve his game offensively. Bringing in a dominant true center with height to play alongside him is just what the doctor ordered for the Boston.
A few names that have found their way into rumors is the Orlando Magic Center, Nikola Vucevic, averaging a double-double 13.2 PPG and 10.5 REB. The Philadelphia 76ers center, Nerlens Noel has also been in rumors, because he’s been clogged up in that front court situation in Philly.
Lastly, the most dominant center in the game right now, DeMarcus Cousins. Moving Al Horford to the PF position and installing a true center next to him will complete the Celtics and will make them a tough matchup against any team in the NBA.