When you think of the Boston Celtics, you think about Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, the Big Three of 2008, “now there’s a steal by Bird underneath to DJ he lays it in,” eight-straight titles, 17 overall, etc. Somewhere way down on the list, way way below Kevin McHale, John Havlicek, Reggie Lewis, and even Antoine Walker and Dominique Wilkins (yep, he led the C’s in scoring in 1994-1995), you think of Big Goofy White Guys.
Fred Roberts, Greg Kite, Brad Lohaus, Lou Tsioropoulos, Scott Wedman, Brian Scalabrine, Dwayne Schintzious, Mark Acres, Steve Kuberski … the list of useless big men of Caucasian descent who wore Celtic green is endless.
So while most of Boston cursed Danny Ainge for shipping Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for three number one picks and a pile of garbage that included Kris Humphries, the move made complete sense to me. Except for two inflated seasons for a worthless New Jersey Nets team, Humphries is the protypical big white man at the end of the bench that has become a symbol of Boston basketball pride.
But wait a second now. In the last three games, Humphries has showed a little somethin’ somethin’. He had 10, 11 and 12 rebounds over a three-game span last week (including an 18-10 against the Hawks) and even blocked four shots in a game against the Bulls.
Jared Sullinger has been dinged up, which has opened the door for Humphries to get 20-plus minutes, and when Sully comes back who knows what happens. But if we’ve learned anything about the Celtics frontcourt this season, it’s that Brad Stevens has a penchant for waffling a lil’ bit (remember the Kelly Olynyk-Vitor Faverani madness from earlier this year?).
As long as Humphries is getting time, he might be able to rise above the Big Goofy White Guy tag and produce a little boardage for you. Definitely worth a spot in deep leagues, worth a stream in normal leagues, don’t bother in shallows.
He’s the rest of the best (and not-so-best) that I saw in the paint last week:
Terrence Jones – He’s at it again! On Christmas Terrance gave us the gift of a 21-14-3, but really it wasn’t a gift: It was the beginning of another one of his patented teases. Yes, he followed that with a 20-point outing, and 2.1 blocks over a six-game span. But for every great stat line there was a clunker. There’s a reason why the Rockets haven’t traded for Thaddeus Young (yet?) – Jones is an early-stage Thad, posting close to 10 boards regularly but not really caring if he gets a ton of points or not. That’s what he is for now, but he could eventually blossom into …
Thaddeus Young – Still boarding, not really blocking as much, but the onslaught of 25-plus point games continues. As long as he stays in Philly, he’s a 20-10 threat every night.
Trevor Booker – The good news is that Randy Whitman realized that Booker works harder than Nene Hilario and deserves to start. The bad news is that Booker doesn’t help the Wizards win regardless of how he plays. He had a career-high 19 boards on New Year’s Day, but the Wiz lost to Dallas. If he’s starting in real life, who cares what he does for Washington – he’ll give you big rebounding stats in the land of fake.
Daniel Orton – Deep league special! Rick Mahorn’s long-lost little brother is yet another lab project for Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie. Orton will get minutes off the bench, and he’s an athletic and big enough body to accidently get rebounds and blocks. His big-time snuff sealed a Jan. 2 win against Sacramento, in which he had a modest 5-4-3.
Shawne Williams – Two straight double-digit rebound games last week, including 11 boards and 5 blocks in a blowout loss to the Bucks. He still plays for the Lakers. And Mike D’Antoni is still the coach. Stay away.
Miles Plumlee – After another huge game (22-13-3 against Philly) he had kind of a roller coaster week. He should be OK but the lack of consistency concerns me. When he gets going again I’d try and include him in a trade as a nice secondary piece.
Alexis Ajinca – Monty Williams tried the 7-footer as his starting five and he responded with 17 points, 7 rebounds and a block. He’ll stay in there until Jason Smith comes back, providing double-digit board potential. And it says here that he could compete hard with Smith even after he returns.
Pau Gasol – If you’re a fan of dissing Pau, this is the place you want to visit. He’s just not a Boards-N-Blocks guy. But this week you’ll hear none of that, as at age 33 the elder Gasol has been at his beastliest down low, highlighted by a 26-6-4 against Milwaukee on New Year’s Eve and a monstrous 23-17-3 on Friday against the Jazz.
Anderson Varejao – Andrew Bynum’s insanity is Varejao’s gain. If you saw Bynum’s bed-crapping coming then you had Varejao on your roster, and if you have Varejao on your roster you rejoiced on Jan. 2 when he delivered a line of 18-25-1. He’s averaging 14 rebounds a game over his last seven. What else do you need to know?
Enes Kanter – Back on track with a 16-10-1 against the Lakers. He disappears a lot, but what do you expect when Ty Corbin refuses to start him? Yo Ty. Your team stinks. Start the kid over 500-year-old Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams. Plus you’re hurting …
Derrick Favors – You think starting a natural power forward at center has an impact on his game? You’re the Jazz. You’re trying to develop Derrick Favors. You’re going nowhere. So why are you making him uncomfortable and limiting his chances of succeeding? And why am I talking like Hubie Brown all of the sudden?
Larry Sanders – As Gary Neal said, he ain’t earning his money. I still feel like he’s a buy-low.
Anthony Davis – The Brow hasn’t been the same since his return. He’s averaging 3.7 blocks in his last four, but hasn’t hit double-digit boards in his last three. No worries long-term, but if you’re relying on him as a horse, you’re getting kinda antsy right now.
Little Big Man of the Week: Ricky Rubio. The 6-4 point guard is known for his dazzling passes, uncanny ability to pick up steals and a crippling inability to shoot. But of late he’s shown some shocking glass-cleaning skills, averaging 7 rpg over his last three, including 9 rebounds in a Dec. 30 win against Dallas.