Everyone knows the Celts need to add size. They need size for one reason: to eat up minutes and provide rest for KG, Bass, and Stiemsma (who, let's not forget, is still not fully healthy). Ainge and Doc have said they don't need scoring, and they're not expecting to strike gold with any free agent still available this late in the season. What they want is a big body who can eat up minutes while not hurting the team defensively. Whoever they sign won't make it on the court unless they play defense (we all know Doc!), so, in my opinion, there is no point going after a poor defensive player who adds minimal offensive punch. There seem to be three candidates left - Diaw, Hollins, Fesenko - and I'm jumping on-board one of them.
Diaw is out of shape and is no longer an offensive or defensive presence. Do the Celts really want to throw their chips in with a guy they cannot trust to show up in shape and to hustle when he's on the court? The past few seasons Diaw has played like he wants to be anywhere else but on the court. There is undeniable talent buried beneath that mountain of cream, but is Doc going to be in the mindset to pry it out of him while the team is trying to win games? Much like with Troy Murphy last season, the answer is no.
Hollins is less talented than Diaw, but at least he's in shape. Hollins is tall at 7', but he is an atrocious rebounder (2.3rpg over his career) and a below-average defender. One good thing is that he can finish at the rim, which should help Rondo and KG on offense, since they're prolific passers and always look to guys near the basket. Hollins, for better or worse, is not known for his in-game intelligence, which could easily hurt his chances of making it on the court. The Celts don't need a 7-footer warming the bench. If he cannot learn quickly and play smart defense, he won't make it on the court.
That brings us to Fesenko. Admittedly, I did not know much about this guy before the past few weeks, and maybe I'm over-hyping his potential, but he has me excited and I hope the Celts are seriously considering him.
He is huge at 7'1", 288lbs, and he is a fierce defender whose only criticism is that he fouls too much. Well, that's kind of alright on this Celts' team because he won't be expected to stay on the court for 20+mpg. A few hard fouls here or there could very well improve the swagger of this club. He isn't a terrific rebounder, nor does he block many shots, but he does finish around the rim and present a huge target for passes from Rondo and KG. He also apparently has a nasty streak that has been highlighted recently in our Forum Topics (http://forums.celticsblog.com/index.php?topic=54786.0).
Per Chris Forsberg: "According to Synergy Sports, Fesenko allowed a mere .716 points per play last season, ranking him in the 96th percentile among all NBA players. Of all the hoopsters that had at least 100 defensive plays last season, Fesenko ranked fourth overall in points per play (Boston's Jermaine O'Neal was second at .675 points per play). Opponents shot a mere 34.2 percent against Fesenko and, while he's still susceptible to post-up situations, he excelled against the pick-and-roll and especially in spot-up situations where players must shoot over his long frame (Fesenko has a 9-foot-4 standing reach)."
Per John Holliger: "The best-kept secret in the NBA right now is Fesenko's monstrous defensive stats. It's not that one or two metrics point out his defensive value; it's that all of them do, without any pointing to the contrary. Last season the Jazz were an eye-popping 11.91 points per 100 possessions better on defense with Fesenko on the floor, and this is not a new trend. The season before it was 8.67; in limited minutes his first two seasons he also had a strong differential. Synergy Stats, meanwhile, rated Fesenko as the second-best defender in the entire league among players who faced at least 150 opponent plays; the season before he was first. And according to 82games.com, opposing centers had a PER of just 10.4 against him; the season before it was 12.9. Despite his size, Fesenko doesn't block a ton of shots or dominate the boards. He just uglies up the game for opponents with his sheer hugeness, especially since he moves his feet fairly well for his size. And he can still get better -- he wasn't always fully engaged in Utah and needs to step up his commitment." (my ital.)
I was won over by "he just uglies up the game..." That's exactly what the Celts love to do (and what I love to watch them do). I'm throwing my support behind Fesenko. A 7'1", 288lb defensive enforcer with a nasty streak is exactly what the Celts need right now. If he is relatively in shape and healthy, the Celts need to bring him onto the squad.
Who do you think the Celts should sign?
Kyrylo Fesenko (30 votes)
Ryan Hollins (7 votes)
Boris Diaw (2 votes)
Fesenko + Hollins (119 votes)
Fesenko + Diaw (35 votes)
Hollins + Diaw (18 votes)
Add no one. (1 vote)
212 total votes