Offseason Depth Chart: Center
BOSTON – July has come and gone, and that means most NBA rosters are shaping up for training camp in late-September. Some changes will occur between now and then, but by and large, the league’s roster landscape is set.
The Boston Celtics may need to make minor changes over the next couple of months. As of August 2, they have 15 players under contract and one unsigned draft pick. Teams are not allowed to have more than 15 players under contract once the week of Opening Night arrives.
With all of this in mind, we’re taking a week-long look at the Celtics’ current depth at each position. Today, we examine the team’s centers.
|2013-14 Small Forwards|
|Fab Melo||1 Year|
Danny Ainge has shaped a roster that is strong at the first four positions we’ve outlined this week: point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward. The center position, on the other hand, stands as a great unknown.
Boston has two centers currently under contract for next season. The first is 2012 first-round pick Fab Melo, and the second is free agent signee Vitor Faverani.
Melo has been with the franchise for more than a year now, which should give him the initial upper hand at center. He knows Boston’s defensive philosophies (if they stay the same with new coach Brad Stevens) and has executed them well.
Defense is the one area where Melo is most advanced. He has a good feel for where he needs to be on the court and he is a good help defender. These skills allowed him to block 3.1 shots per game last season in the NBA Development League. Additionally, he blocked 1.2 shots per game during summer league play despite averaging just 18.2 minutes per contest.
Melo’s play in the Orlando Pro Summer League wasn’t perfect, but it sure was encouraging. He rebounded, blocked shots, took several charges and hit a few smooth hook shots. His play garnered rave reviews from his summer league coach, Jay Larranaga, as well as his new head coach, Brad Stevens.
At the other end of the spectrum is Faverani. He signed with the Celtics on July 22, but Danny Ainge and Stevens haven’t spoken about him publicly. There isn’t much information out there on Faverani, but that’s what happens sometimes when a player enters the NBA from overseas.
Rumors have swirled since that signing that Boston has had its eyes on Faverani, a native of Brazil, for quite some time. Faverani played professionally for Valencia Basket of the Spanish ACB league last season, finishing with averages of 9.3 PPG and 4.6 RPG. He has also played with Brazil’s national team, which has been lauded for its frontcourt depth in recent years.
In Faverani, the Celtics acquire a 6-foot-11 body that possesses very good athleticism. As highlighted in this scouting report, Faverani is a great finisher at the rim and he has an affinity for throwing down loud dunks. He has also displayed the ability to finish with both hands off of post moves.
The fact that we haven’t seen Melo or Faverani play very much makes the center position very intriguing for the Celtics. What we do know is that Melo has showcased strong defensive skills, while Faverani has proven to be a talented offensive player. We’ll see which center separates themselves from the other during their upcoming training camp battle.