Vitor Faverani's hot start had a lot of us, myself included, swept up in a euphoria of found treasure. His cool stretch that followed brought us back to planet Earth a little bit. Now he's starting to earn some more playing time, which is good timing since we'll be without Kelly Olynyk for a couple of weeks.
So what gives with Faverani's roller coaster minutes? Look to the defense.
On the plus side, he plays solid one-on-one defense and blocks shots.
Faverani shows some upside - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston
Faverani also has been a solid rim protector. He owns the fifth best block percentage in the league (5.6 percent, putting him a fraction of a point ahead of Oklahoma City swatter Serge Ibaka), according to Basketball Reference. SportVU's player-tracking data shows that Faverani is allowing opponents to shoot just 43.3 percent at the rim -- a number that's not quite up to Hibbert's otherworldly 35.3 percent, but puts Faverani ahead of the likes of Dwight Howard (44.7 percent).
So what's the problem?
The numbers lie a little bit. Faverani is still adjusting to Boston's help defense system and has a propensity to get caught out of position. During Saturday's game, he misplayed Paul Millsap on the baseline, essentially letting him sneak by, and poor Jared Sullinger ended up on a poster for Faverani's transgression as Millsap delivered a violent one-handed jam with Sullinger scrambling to help.
This is the primary issue with young and/or inexperienced teams. Even if they can do some good things on defense, it takes a total commitment to team defense to be effective. That's got to be hard when you don't have a Kevin Garnett anymore and you are only as strong as your weakest link.
Still, Faverani has been a pro since he was 14 years old. Hopefully he'll pick things up sooner or later and the team will have a legit center that they can rely on in their rotation for years to come.