According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office could head into the new season with their final roster spot unfilled to provide them with additional flexibility throughout the first part of the season.
“According to a league source, there are no imminent plans to fill the opening, and the team may wait to see which other players become available as cuts are made around the NBA during the preseason,” Himmelsbach wrote. “They may target some extra frontcourt help, but also could simply seek a good developmental piece regardless of position.”
Keeping the final roster spot open isn’t something new for Boston. Last season, Stevens deployed the same tactic, as it allows the Celtics to react if a player is waived or a potential trade becomes a possibility.
By having the additional spot available, the Celtics can act as a ‘middle-man’ in a larger trade or take back two players, while there’s also no need to cut somebody if a veteran shakes loose.
What Risks Are The Celtics Running?
Generally speaking, the 15th roster spot is a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ position within the roster. Anyone occupying the final spot within the rotation is scarcely expected to provide consistent impact. However, given the injury history of Boston’s big man rotation, having an additional body would be a valuable insurance policy.
At this point in the summer, any legitimate contributor is likely on a new team, with the exception of Kelly Oubre Jr. As such, it makes sense for the Celtics front office to remain patient and wait for somebody who can improve the rotation to become available.
It’s also worth noting that Boston’s two-way players are both guards, so should the Celtics have injury issues at the big man position, Luke Kornet will likely be the guy tasked with steadying the ship.
Brad Stevens Defends Kristaps Porzingis Addition
In Boston’s major move of the summer, the Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards. In a recent appearance on WEEI’s ‘Jones & Mego,’ Stevens defended acquiring a big man with a troublesome injury history.
“The part that was very obvious was he’s 7-foot-3. He can play the 5 and the 4 and he can play with any of our 5’s and 4’s which I think is important,” Stevens said. “If you bring in someone that is just a center, it’s hard to play them and Rob together. But if you bring in someone with the skills that Kristaps has, that has the skillset that Al has, you can mix-and-match a little bit. You can stay bigger longer. That’s something we couldn’t do as much last year with our smaller groups because a lot of our best players were guards.”
If he can remain healthy, Porzingis will be an integral member of the Celtics rotation and could be the difference maker in a potential run toward an NBA Championship. However, a recent plantar fasciitis injury is certainly cause for concern among the fanbase.