The 2022-23 NBA season is approaching fast, but new injury woes have popped up for the Boston Celtics.
Earlier in the summer, Danilo Gallinari went down with a devastating ACL injury and yesterday it was announced that Robert Williams III is scheduled to have another knee procedure.
With this concerning news coming to light, Boston might have to think about adding some big men depth. While Jay King of The Athletic was informed that the C’s aren’t targeting a veteran big–rather a young center who could earn their spot in training camp–no option can be completely ruled out.
If Williams goes down during the season, Boston’s lineup can respond with veteran Al Horford at center. Yet besides him, the depth chart is not exactly loaded with experienced bigs, so the Celtics could take a chance on a temporary Williams replacement.
Filling in for the All-Defensive Second Teamer would be difficult, but here are a few bigs who might be called upon.
4 potential bigs Celtics could tap to fill in for Robert Williams III
Yes, Howard is a big-name center in his thirties who King has heard will not be targeted. However, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Celtics were interested in the eight-time All-Star earlier in the offseason.
Regardless, Howard in Boston would be odd, but potentially effective. The NBA journeyman has bounced from team to team in recent years, yet he recently captured a title with the Los Angeles Lakers while averaging 7.5 rebounds and 7.3 points per game. For a center coming off the bench, that’s not too shabby.
Plus, he’s durable, a solid defender in spite of his age, and someone who most likely won’t require a large contract. The odds he comes to Boston aren’t amazing, but he could provide the C’s with experience, depth, and a stronger defensive presence.
3) Mfiondu Kabengele
On the opposite spectrum of Howard is largely unknown–but former first-round pick–Mfiondu Kabengele. After an impressive showing during Summer League, the 6-foot-10 big man signed a two-contract with the Celtics.
With his height and shot-blocking ability, Kabengele could be a dark horse for the C’s who steps into a larger role with Williams’ health in question. While center Luke Kornet and others remain ahead of him in the depth chart for now, training camp could work to Kabengele’s advantage.
2) Amida Brimah
King mentioned that the Celtics could take a flyer on a young big man at training camp, and maybe 6-foot-10 center Amida Brimah is the man for the job.
While far from a household name, Brimah had a brief stint with the Indiana Pacers and has played all around the world. He was just released by a Japanese team a few weeks ago and in the wake of Boston waiving Bruno Caboclo, perhaps Brimah could be who they’re looking for.
As a former UConn Husky, he’s already familiar with the New England area and he even led the G League in blocks last year. With his height and wingspan, he could be a fearsome rim protector reminiscent of Timelord.
The other big-name center who the Celtics showed interest in this offseason is seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. The 6-foot-11 center most recently played with Kevin Durant and the Nets, but since then he has surprisingly not been picked up in free agency.
Like Howard, Aldridge would bring experience to the Celtics’ locker room. And in spite of his age and health, he can still score at a good clip, as he averaged a solid 12.9 points per game with Brooklyn in his last season.
While he lacks Williams’ vertical and athleticism, Aldridge could remove some offensive pressure from Boston’s superstars and provide scoring and depth off the bench. Right now, the C’s don’t need much else.
So with the 2022-23 NBA season beginning in less than a month, Boston still has some questions to answer and its depth will be tested sooner rather than later.