Brook Lopez, Markieff Morris, and Ryan Anderson are commonly cited as potential trade targets for the Boston Celtics, who have a mountain of assets and a need for scoring. But here's why the Celtics front office would be better off not dealing for them.
Brook Lopez is not at all a fit
The appeal of Brook Lopez is understandable. He's a 7-footer that averages about 20 points per game. He'd help provide scoring for the Celtics, who rank 19th in offensive rating. And the Nets could be worse without him, a bonus for the Celtics since they own Brooklyn's first-round picks through 2018.
But adding another big would do nothing to alleviate the overflowing frontcourt rotation. Lopez will earn over $40 million total the next two years, so he'd prohibit the Celtics from having immense versatility in free agency. And to make matters worse, Lopez has a long history of foot problems, a major red flag for big men.
And even strictly speaking as a player, Lopez really doesn't seem like the type of player the Celtics want to build around. Though Lopez has made strides defensively, he's still an average pick-and-roll defender. The Celtics are at their best with a center that can comfortably defend more mobile players, like Amir Johnson, and Lopez still struggles in that area.
Lopez's main source of offense comes from the low post, an area the Celtics attack less frequently than most NBA teams. Lopez scores 0.91 points per post-up, per Synergy, which is worse than what every NBA team scores on pick-and-roll finishes by the screener. Stevens has spoken openly in the past about how he likes bigs that rim run, and Lopez simply isn't that player. He's a traditional low post threat, but not someone who sets screens and rumbles down the lane, or sprints hard in transition.
Lopez doesn't make any sense considering his cost, injury history, and style.
Markieff Morris only makes sense in theory
Markieff Morris should be a good player in a modern league that emphasizes versatility. But he isn't. Defensively, he plays without a sense of urgency. Offensively, he's shown flashes but not enough consistency.
Morris also doesn't help the Celtics where they're hurting. The Celtics rank 28th in three-point shooting, but Morris is only a 31.4% shooter from behind the arc over the last three seasons.
The Celtics already have a player in Jonas Jerebko who has drained 39.7% of his threes since 2013. Not only is Jerebko a better shooter, but he's also a better defender because of his hustling mindset and ability to switch onto different positions.
Brad Stevens worked his magic on reclamation projects like Jordan Crawford and Evan Turner, but those players aren't exactly knuckleheads like Morris. Despite having only a modest contract, Morris isn't worth the risk, especially with Jerebko on the roster.
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Ryan Anderson is redundant
Ryan Anderson is a really nice stretch forward, as a career 37.9% from behind the arc. He's also a free-agent-to-be, so there'd be no long-term commitment for the Celtics. But Anderson is redundant with Kelly Olynyk already on the roster.
Olynyk is three years younger than Anderson, and already a better defensive player. As underwhelming a rebounder Olynyk is (17.2 DREB%), Anderson is even worse (15.4 DREB%). Olynyk is a significantly better playmaker, as he's one of the rare 7-footers that can drive closeouts to score or pass.
Anderson's calling card is his shot and the Celtics desperately need shooting. But they don't need it as much from the power forward position. And it's not like they could pair Olynyk and Anderson the floor, since they'd get sliced up on defense.
Since mid-November, Olynyk is sinking 47.9% of his threes, which ranks sixth in the NBA. But he's still only averaging 8.6 shots per game, about five fewer than Anderson. The Celtics could get more offense by feeding their hottest shooter, not trading for one.
MORE ON OLYNYK
MORE ON OLYNYK
Since last season, Anderson has played 77 games that he receives at least 10 field goal attempts. In those games he averages 17.3 points on a 52.1 eFG%, in 30.4 minutes. Olynyk has played 62 games under the same criteria and has averaged 17.8 points on a 61.4 eFG%, in only 26.9 minutes.
If he isn't already, Olynyk can be a better player than Anderson. The solution could be just to increase his usage and force-feed him the ball. Go ahead and call me an "Olynyk Truther." I won't deny it.
Who should the Celtics target?
This year's trade deadline might not be active due to the tight standings and the upcoming rising salary cap that comes with uncertainty on player value. Click here to read my article on About.com, which details five players I'd target, besides the usual suspects like Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Love, and DeMarcus Cousins.
The player I'm especially hot for is Jared Dudley. Unlike Morris, Dudley is great locker room guy and he's a proven knockdown shooter. He's a career 40.1% shooter from three and a very solid defender. The Wizards are on the playoff bubble, but if they struggle before the deadline, a free-agent-to-be like Dudley could be a player they decide to unload for future assets.
The Celtics should try their best to be active around the deadline, but they shouldn't force for it for a player like Lopez, Morris, or Anderson.