Concealed in the recent success of the aging but talented Boston Celtics is their dire need for a reliable big man.
Boston was one win away from representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals last year, falling short to LeBron James and the formidable Miami Heat. However, they defied all odds by getting there, and they have done that almost every year with their hefty supply of playoff experience and ample amount of talent.
They may not have the Big Three in their primes anymore as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are nearing retirement, while Ray Allen fled to South Beach. But they have a great perimeter defender in Avery Bradley, an incredibly talented passing point guard (who averages more than 13 points and 11 assists per game) in Rajon Rondo. Garnett and Pierce are still there, as is Brandon Bass.
The Celtics are talented, but with the Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and even the New York Knicks stepping up, it will take more talent and a fountain of youth, or a talented young player, for the Celtics to thrive again. They aren’t getting the fountain of youth, so it’s not a bad idea to try and acquire a talented big man to solve their rebounding problems.
Despite having Garnett and other capable players, the Celtics rank last in rebounding with a horrid 38.5 per game. No team will win a championship while ranking last in rebounding and while Boston probably won’t win it all even with a great rebounder, it wouldn’t hurt to acquire a reliable big man.
DeMarcus Cousins would be a perfect fit, as he is a star on a Sacramento Kings team without the talent, experience or fan base to succeed in the daunting Western Conference. His agent wants him out and in Boston and the Celtics could be a great fit. The Celtics have Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Bradley at shooting guard, so they could ship one out and package that with some draft picks.
Sacramento might not be asking for a lot in return, since Cousins’ leaving would open up a window of opportunity for them. He was suspended one game for arguing with coach Keith Smart and his poor attitude has arguably factored in to the Kings not having a spectacular year. It wouldn’t hurt to ship him out, but it would help Boston.
Team chemistry is key in all sports, but I feel that if the Celtics started winning with a strong inside presence, his attitude would shape up. Boston is 14-17 right now and Sacramento just blew them out, but Cousins is the piece they need. He is a scoring threat, and he would give Rondo another scoring threat to pass to while also helping significantly on defense.
Boston is 17th in the league on defense, but they have snatched a miserable 74.1 percent of rebounds while on defense. Cousins could definitely help with that and his overall defense is great, too. Cousins is strong and athletic and he leads the Kings with 1.5 steals per game, which is incredible for a big man. He also averages a very good 9.7 rebounds per game, while sporting a scoring average of 16.5 and a decent average of 0.6 blocks per game.
The Celtics are also 17th in offense and Cousins could help with that. He has a decent career field goal percentage (43.5) and he can be deadly from mid-range. He is also a 77.5 percent free-throw shooter this year. Cousins knows how to create shots for himself, and he would definitely help the Celtics on offense and defense.
Some may argue that the Celtics should forget it and rebuild for the future and that stockpiling draft picks wouldn’t work out for them. However, I think Boston has enough depth within the roster so that they could give up one of their shooting guards, a second-round draft pick, and a younger player such as Jared Sullinger or Fab Melo. Or they could even ship off a second-round pick and Bass, while using Garnett, Pierce, Cousins, Rondo and Bradley in the starting lineup.
That would make for a complete team; maybe even a chance with championship aspirations.
There are a lot of teams missing just one piece to contend, and the Celtics are one of those teams. Luckily for them, it won’t be difficult to obtain the missing piece. They have over a month before the trade deadline, and they should be able to strike a deal for Cousins. If they want to solve their rebounding and defensive woes while improving their offense, they should ship out the struggling Bass and bring in the young, talented Cousins.
Because he’s not going anywhere in Sacramento. But if he went to Boston, the sky would be the limit.
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