After a flurry of trade deadline activity, the Boston Celtics now need to fill some empty roster spots.
On February 10, the Celtics saw PJ Dozier, Bol Bol, Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, Enes Freedom, and Bruno Fernando all depart in trade deals, however, the team only welcomed Derrick White and Daniel Theis into the fold.
As such, Boston now has five open roster spots, two below the required minimum, and is expected to be significant participants in the buy-out market over the coming days. There seem’s to be multiple trains of thought on what the Celtics should do when rounding out their roster.
On the one hand, the team is still in desperate need of shooting, but perhaps the notion of converting Sam Hauser’s contract resolves that problem to a certain extent. On the other hand, the Celtics are short on wings and may also need another big body to match up with some of the brutes around the league.
While Daniel Theis is a reasonable positional defender, he’s going to struggle against the Joel Embiid’s and Andre Drummond’s of the world, and expecting Al Horford to absorb that kind of beating is a recipe for disaster.
That’s why former Celtic, and now TV color analyst Brian Scalabrine believes the Celtics should take a look at another former player in Tacko Fall, who was recently waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fall Makes Sense as a Back-Up
Fall has failed to make an impact since entering the league but has become a well-loved member of the NBA by players and fans alike. However, despite his immense size and length, neither the Celtics nor the Cavaliers have been able to find a consistent role for the seven-foot-five big man, leading to him being a free agent midway through the 2021-22 season.
“I’m even fine having Tacko Fall and training him,” Scalabrine said. “He wakes up every morning, looks at Embiid, he works out. When they go to the film, Tacko goes to another room and watches Joel Embiid. I would be fine with all three of those guys. Against Embiid, you need specialists. You need a guy just to spell him for like 10 minutes in a game. Maybe six minutes in the first half wear Embiid out and four minutes in the second half.”
Similar to Theis and Robert Williams, Fall lacks the strength to deal with some of the more brutish centers in the NBA, but his height poses a different type of problem for them. The Philadelphia 76ers like to play outside in, but with Fall protecting the rim, Embiid would be forced to play in the mid-range, thus limiting how the Sixers approach the game.
Another important thing to note is that Fall is incredibly inexperienced despite his three years in the league. Playing only 37 NBA games over three seasons, the big man has averaged 2.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game, which isn’t encouraging given his commanding size in the paint.
Celtics Need to Fill Out Their Roster
Regardless the Celtics potentially bringing back Fall, there’s a real need for the team to add some additional depth to their roster. Beyond the NBA rules, the team is exceptionally thin on depth right now, and should any player sustain an injury, Boston will struggle to field a full rotation.
Sure, whoever the Celtics acquire is unlikely to see consistent playing time, but the team has a legitimate chance to improve their strength in depth. Dozier and Bol Bol were never going to play this year, so whoever replaces them is an instant upgrade, while Freedom and Fernando struggled to make an impact. That just leaves a Romeo Langford replacement, and that will be difficult to find due to his age and perimeter defense.
Still, there are some genuine veteran talents the project to be available in the coming days, and with the Celtics under the luxury cap and in need of fresh blood, we can expect to see a couple of new faces walking through the door sooner than later.