BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics have a gluttony of guards, swingmen and perimeter players.
Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, James Young, Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Thornton and now Evan Turner, who signed as a free agent Monday afternoon after spending the majority of his career in Philadelphia, and more recently Indiana.
The former second overall pick in the 2010 draft averaged 17.4 points per game in his final stint with the 76ers in 2013-14, but after being traded to the Pacers managed just 7.1 ppg coming off the bench.
Basketball analyst and former Providence head coach Tim Welsh joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show Tuesday to discuss Turner, and while it doesn’t make sense basketball-wise, Welsh says this is all a part of what a team should do in the offseason.
“There’s no basketball explanation for it as far as trying to plug holes right now and fill out the slots,” said Welsh. “But this is what teams do in the middle of July. It’s all about moving pieces, and this is low risk. If it was high risk, high money or something you couldn’t get out of you’d say, ‘Well why are they doing this?’ But why not? It’s low money and Turner does have a reputation of a guy that can score.”
Turner, just 25-years-old, is viewed as a reclamation project around the league and finds himself in a good situation with the Celtics because of the coach. Welsh added, “He’s only 25-years-old and can still resurrect himself in the right system. Brad Stevens did a great job with [Jordan] Crawford last year. Maybe he thinks he can do that again with Turner.”
There’s speculation out there that the Celtics, now loaded with guards and combo guard-forwards, acquired Evan Turner as a way to “sweeten the pot” in a potential deal for Minnesota’s Kevin Love. After all, the T-Wolves and Celtics were the only teams interested in Turner as of last week.
Welsh says we shouldn’t rule that out, because the status quo of fielding a team with just guards and forwards is baffling.
“It makes a little sense. Why not? If [Minnesota] has interest and he’s the final piece they can plug in — he’s proven that he can be a capable NBA starter, and Flip Saunders is looking for capable NBA starters back in this deal. Maybe Turner is a part of the puzzle. I wouldn’t say he’s the most important piece, but if you’re trying to put enough pieces together in a package to Minnesota I think it makes sense.
“It doesn’t make sense basketball-wise because you have so many swing guys. There’s got to be some other moves to be made down the road.”
Having said all that though, Welsh believes that Minnesota will hold off as long as possible — even if it takes them to the trade deadline in February — to get the best deal they can for Love.
For Welsh, the biggest question remaining for the Celtics is filling out the frontcourt. They have no shot-blocker and no physical presence down low at the moment, so he’s of the mind that the next body walking through that door will be a big man, whether it be Kevin Love or someone else.
“Who plays the middle? They were vastly undermanned there last year. They need more grit up front. Not a shot blocker per se, but some toughness on the front line. They are really lacking a glass-eater, someone to get boards and defend in the paint. That will be the Celtics’ next move.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including the Andrew Wiggins dilemma facing Cleveland and how that affects the C’s: