Celtics' 15th-man options: Anthony Bennett, Ty Lawson, Marcus Thornton, other Marcus Thornton?
Ever since the Celtics bought out David Lee, Boston has had it's 15th and final roster spot available. We've heard on many occasions that the club is in no rush to fill the position, including once again last night:
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he has not been involved in any discussion about filling vacant 15th roster spot.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) March 2, 2016
However, Brad Stevens has also mentioned what type of player he'd like to have if the team did add an extra body:
#Celtics HC Brad Stevens says if the Cs fill 15th roster spot, adding a shooter with positional versatility would be preferred. #celticstalk— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) February 25, 2016
If Danny Ainge does decide to bring somebody in, here are a few possible options:
Bennett was the No. 1 pick in the draft less than three years ago (2013), yet somehow three NBA teams (Cavs, Timberwolves and now Raptors) have already given up on him. He's going to get another shot somewhere, should it be in Boston?
The 6'8" big man clearly doesn't fit the needs Stevens described. He was also a shocking No. 1 pick to begin with (most mock drafts had him going in the 7-10 range), so we shouldn't get too caught up in the idea that he's brimming with untapped potential. The best excuse for Bennett coming to the Celtics might be so Kelly Olynyk has another Canadian to hang out with.
Despite his off-court troubles, there was still a case to be made that Lawson was somebody the C's should've considered trading for last summer--he averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game with the Nuggets a season ago.
Now, however, Lawson is the player who only managed 5.8 points (on 39 percent shooting) and 3.4 assists in 22.2 minutes for the Rockets before they waived him on Tuesday. Regardless of how you feel about Lawson at this point, it's likely irrelevant as he appears on the verge of signing with the Pacers:
Free-agent guard Ty Lawson is in strong discussions on a possible deal with the Indiana Pacers, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 3, 2016
Original Marcus Thornton
Thornton was pretty good under Stevens the first time around. In fact, just over a year ago he was the guy we all wanted to take the big shot in crunch time. He made 42 percent of his threes with Boston, although that number dropped to just 34 percent with Houston this season.
The 28-year-old fits Stevens' criteria, and could provide instant offense off the bench if necessary. On January 18 against the Clippers, he scored 23 points in 22 minutes on 9-of-15 shooting (5-for-9 from deep) with five assists and three rebounds.
There would also be some beautiful symmetry to reacquiring Thornton for nothing, considering he was the player Ainge dealt for Isaiah Thomas (along with a Cleveland draft pick). Plus, it'd be funny to have two Marcus Thorntons around...
Marcus Thornton 2.0
The Celtics' second-rounder is back from Australia and ready to suit up in the D-League:
The Red Claws have added Marcus Thornton (45th pick by @celtics in 2015 Draft) - welcome to #CrustaceanNation! pic.twitter.com/nxXOfvUAPt— Maine Red Claws (@maineredclaws) March 1, 2016
From CSNNE's Jimmy Toscano:
The Celtics currently have an extra roster spot available, but there haven't been any discussion about using it on Thornton, Stevens said on Wednesday. ...
"He's a guy, like many of our young players who have things to work on to play at this level, but he has ultimate burst with the ball, he's got the ability to score the ball off pick and rolls and screening actions. It's just a matter of finding more rhythm doing that at the professional level."
If the William and Mary product is ever going to get a chance in Boston, now might be the time--the C's have eight more picks coming in the 2016 draft.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan