Greg Stiemsma has probably heard all the talk about the Celtics' desperate need for big man help. Nobody knows how close we ever came to getting someone via trade but Ainge and Rivers admitted that they were looking.
In truth, that wasn't a slight on Greg. He could see teammates falling like flies around him and he probably agrees with much of the hand wringing. Plus, he's been humbled enough to understand that he's not an all star.
But on the other hand, he's young, tall, and has had a truncated full season to learn Doc's system. Lately he's been proving that he's becoming more and more capable of earning the minutes he's been forced into playing. Now with Ryan Hollins in town, he's back to needing to earn his minutes - but he seems to be handling it well.
Even this season has had its share of ups and downs. Between his breakout performance back on Jan. 2 and March 6 — the night before Chris Wilcox played his final game of the season — Stiemsma didn’t score more than four points over a 30-game span that included seven DNPs. Not to mention a laundry list of injuries to his right foot (bone bruise), left foot (plantar fasciitis), right thumb (jammed) and right pinkie ("just a flesh wound"). "There’s always little bumps and bruises that you get throughout the season," he said. "This year, with the situation we’re in, now that Ryan [Hollins] is here we have a little bit of help, but otherwise we didn’t really have a choice. I’ve worked too hard to get to this point to let a couple little injuries keep me off the floor. It’s been a journey to get here, so I’m not going to let something little keep me off the floor."
In his last 12 games, Stiemsma is averaging 4.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.1 steals in 18.4 minutes a night.
As they say, you can't teach height. You also can't teach the shot blocking instincts that he's got. Thankfully, it sounds like he's being taught the other things that will make him a better and better contributor on the court.