The Celtics have needed a presence at center pretty much since Kendrick Perkins was traded. A prevailing thought this summer has been that Danny Ainge needs to go out and get a big guy for the middle. Ainge has said as much.
After watching the first summer league game (and yes, I know taking too much from a summer league game is folly, see: Brown, Kendrick) I started thinking what if the Celtics already have a center on this roster?
Let's do the classic player comparison:
Player A: 6'10", 235 lbs, 6.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .7 bpg, .514 fg%, .679 ft%, 5 years experience
Player B: 7'0", 238 lbs, 8.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, .4 bpg, .466 fg%, .811 ft%, 1 year experience
Player C: 6'11", 250 lbs, 14 ppg, 9 rpg, .6 bpg, .508 fg%, .678 ft%, 4 years experience
Player A represents a passable free agent center that has been rumored for the Celtics, Player C represents my best case scenario free agent center for the Celtics who is likely not that attainable and player B is a Celtic currently on the roster. Players A and C have better numbers if you look only at last season rather than career averages, but our player seems to measure up pretty well.
Player A is Jordan Hill. If you look at last years numbers only, his averages jump to 9.7 ppg and 7.4 rpg, but both are perhaps inflated on a bad Lakers team (and yes... rebounds can be inflated or deflated based on teammates and opportunities, just ask DeShawn Stevenson's teammates).
Player C is Greg Monroe. His numbers for just last year improve to 15.2 and 9.3, which are likely a bit low considering the bad situation he was in. If the Celtics could get him, I would in a heartbeat.
Player B is ... Kelly Olynyk. Kelly is not considered by most a center, but he has the height for it and he certainly looked more bulked up in the first summer league game. I would guess that he is well over 238 lbs right now. Although he flashes it, he really doesn't seem to have the quickness to stay with a stretch 4. While he might lack quickness for a PF, he would certainly have enough to play center. The downside would be strength and defense. Could he control the paint? Not right now, but maybe down the road? Is it possible that the team has asked him to bulk up so that he could play center?
Perhaps PF and center as distinct positions is overrated. Maybe the better question is could Olynyk play alongside Bass and Sullinger and defend the bigger player on the other team? Is that a direction the Celtics should look into?
Perhaps some expected this to be about Colton Iverson, who did look very good. He was mobile, had better hands on offense and rebounded much better than I thought he would. The other team was definately more hesitant to go down the lane with Iverson in there. I would feel OK with Iverson as the 4th or 5th big guy on the team.