Celtics bench needs a boost - time to use the DPE?
It has become apparent that we miss Marcus Morris on the Celtics second unit. As we await his return from a knee injury, the team could use his scoring, defense and rebounding. The rookies as backups are not getting it done. The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn had some thoughts on the dilemma:
After watching journeyman Michael Beasley come off the bench and drop bucket after bucket on them with little resistance Thursday night at New York, the Celtics should come to a revelation.
When their bench has been reduced to four rookies — Semi Ojeleye, Abdel Nader, Daniel Theis, and Guerschon Yabusele — and a third-year player in Terry Rozier, it’s time for a boost in support. As the Celtics wait for Marcus Morris’s left knee to get healthy, their bench is suffering mightily.
Much-traveled Michael Beasley burned Boston for 32 points on 13/20 from the field while snagging 12 rebounds. Beasley is in his 10th NBA season and has played for six different teams, one of them (Miami) twice. He can score in bunches and do so with accuracy (52.0% on field goals for his career). So the question comes up again. Should the Celtics use their DPE to sign a veteran who can score the ball? Washburn mentions the Clippers Lou Williams and The Grizzlies Tyreke Evans as possibilities:
Players such as the Clippers’s Lou Williams could become available if coach Doc Rivers decides to start gathering assets. Memphis’s Tyreke Evans, having his best year since his rookie season, could become available as the Grizzlies continue to sink.
So, hopefully, the Celtics learned a valuable lesson Thursday. They needed a veteran. They need a scorer because they do have a chance to compete for the NBA Finals this season. But it’s unfair to expect their core of rookies, along with Smart and Rozier, to thrive when the importance of the game will only increase.
They need a dude who can drop some buckets.
Well, Lou Williams "can drop some buckets" and do so with abandon and little conscience. Kind of reminds you of Danny Ainge in the 80's. But the guy can score with decent percentages and he can distribute the ball. Williams has played both point guard and shooting guard throughout his career. This season, he is playing for the faltering Los Angeles Clippers and is signed for only this season at seven million. He would fit the DPE. At 6'1", Lou lacks size but is a proven commodity.
Tyreke Evans can put points on the board along with rebounds and assists. He is very talented but injury-prone. He is signed with the Memphis Grizzlies for this season at 3.3-million, thereby fitting into the DPE. At 6'6" he definitely has versatility.
If Danny Ainge truly wants to win it all this year, there is no doubt in my mind that another veteran presence is needed - one that can be counted on to score. Ainge is being extremely patient with the DPE and is not aggressively seeking a trade. He is waiting for the right guy to be bought out, waived or to express a strong desire to leave a weak team to go to a winner.
There will be more injuries, hopefully minor ones. Lack of depth, fatigue and injuries often go hand-in-hand. Going back in Celtics history, Rick Pitino had zero patience and the team paid the price. Danny had a bit of patience coming onboard and he gained more as the seasons progressed. But it may be time to forget patience and test the waters.
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Lou Williams photo via Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Tyreke Evans photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports