The slumping Celtics could use a spark: Enter Jordan Mickey
The Celtics have dropped six of their last seven games, and they haven’t exactly been against the NBA’s elite teams. In those games they have lost to the putrid LA Lakers, the woeful Nets, Pistons, Bulls, Mike Conley-less Grizzlies, and last night to the Knicks even without Carmelo for the entire 2nd half. Their only win has been against the Nets who currently couldn’t hire a GM in his/her right mind without handing them majority share of the franchise.
Celtics Nation is rightfully frustrated. The magic that this team had towards the end of last season that carried into the beginning of this season has seemed to start slipping away as Boston now finds itself at 19-19. A .500 record that likely won’t place you in the Eastern Conference playoffs as it has in recent years.
Many are calling for Danny Ainge to make a trade immediately to shake things up. While a trade could be brewing, it wouldn’t be wise for Ainge to panic and start calling every NBA front office begging for a move. Other GM’s would sense the Celtics' desperation, and drive up the asking price on any deal. While Trader Danny is surely working on deals as he has been all season, forcing the issue has never been his style.
Fortunately for Boston, it has a risk free, fan favorite, athletic, hungry, and driven prospect waiting for his name to be called. Enter Jordan Mickey.
Jordan Mickey was named the NBA Development League Player of the Month for December averaging 18.1 points 10.6 rebounds and 4.7 blocks.
When asked earlier this month, 2 losses into the current slump, about his interest in seeing Mickey up with the Celtics, Brad Stevens had this to say via Chris Forsberg:
"I’m really curious, but we do have a [frontcourt] logjam," said Stevens. "That’s the reality of our situation. And, to his credit, he’s made the most of it by staying in a rhythm by playing up there and I think he’s done a lot of good things. Some things that will really be able to translate, I think. And some things that he just needs to continue to improve upon. He’s closer to ready than ever before because of his continued work."
Stevens basically chalked it up to the depth we already have in the front court, but is that still the case? David Lee has been nothing short of awful lately, and the Tyler Zeller 55 FG% from last season feels like a decade ago. Both were healthy scratches last night, and that leaves 3 bigs left, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Jared Sullinger. Boston’s head coach has openly stated he prefers having 4 big men in the rotation.
Mickey seems like a low risk, high reward option for this struggling team. Do I think he’s going to come in and put up his D-League numbers in the NBA? Hell no. But he could provide a spark this team desperately needs. Sometimes all it takes is one block, one dunk, or one play to get the players going again, and to see it from a rookie usually works even better. He could even light a fire under our current front court players and get them motivated to play better.
Best case scenario: Mickey averages 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks off the bench and provides the juice this team is missing.
Worst case scenario: He proves he’s still not strong enough underneath, needs more time to improve, and we send him back to the D-League.
Seems worthy of a try.
Photo Credit: John Locher/Associated Press
Video Credit: NBADleague
For more Celtics news and information follow Nolan on Twitter @NolanChuck