The missing piece for the Celtics is a dominant big man
Is it a coincidence that most of the top-rated teams in the NBA have a dominant big man? Maybe not. In the East, top-ranked Toronto has Serge Ibaka, not terribly dominant on his own, but ably assisted by two potential MVP candidates, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. The Milwaukee Bucks are second in the East and boast the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Philadelphia starts Joel Embiid in the front-court and Indiana has Myles Turner. Detroit's Andre Drummond completes the East's top-5, all with winning records.
The 60's Celtics Championship teams had Bill Russell. The 70's teams had Dave Cowens. In the 80's, it was Robert Parish - and add in 6'10", freakish-wingspan Kevin McHale and 6'9" Swiss-Army-Knife Larry Bird if you wish. Kevin Garnett was just the addition the Celtics needed after a long Title drought. Those four dominant bigs and their teammates accounted for 15 Championships.
Particularly if focused on this season, Al Horford seems best-suited for the power forward slot rather than the center position. And as talented as Al is, he can not be called dominant. How about Aron Baynes? He lacks the offensive firepower. Rob Williams? How do we know. Brad Stevens won't play him.
Danny Ainge already has a good idea if the current team is Title-worthy. After tonight's game with the Pelicans, Boston's season will be more than one-quarter history. And whether win or lose tonight, the Celtics early-season record screams no Championship this year.
Both the Celtics and Pelicans come into this game with identical 10-10 records. Both teams are under-performing. Anthony Davis may be the best big in the NBA, and he is truly dominant in every aspect of the game. Boston has the most pieces to offer, and the New Orleans front office may see that this is the best opportunity to approach Ainge. And if Danny views the current Celtics crew as not being Finals-bound, he will pull the trigger on a trade. In my view, the only untouchable player is Jayson Tatum.
All of us hate to lose, but Danny Ainge despises it. It sticks in his throat. A record of 10-10 is not where he wanted to be at the one-quarter mark of the season. In the era of small-ball and position-less basketball, it still has to be noted that the Celtics have not won a Title in more than a half-century without a dominant big man.
If the losing trend continues for several more games without a break-through, I see no player on the roster, except Jayson Tatum, that is untouchable. Work whatever trade you wish on ESPN's trade machine, but Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday works salary-wise. Davis is 25 and Holiday is 28. AD's production this season is unworldly, and Jrue's is at a very high level. The Celtics need a dominant big man to aggressively compete for the next Championship. The clock is ticking.
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