Center Depth Chart: Blount Steady As They Come
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With the preseason underway and the regular season quickly approaching, join celtics.com over the next few days as we take a look at the upcoming season. We'll break down each position, see who will probably get the minutes and who still has to prove themselves in camp to work their way into the lineup.
Today we take a look at the center position. Mark Blount returns as the incumbent, after a breakout year in 2003-04. He recorded career-high's in nearly every statistical category, and had a team-leading 19 double-doubles. The big question is going to be who backs him up. Is Kendrick Perkins ready to contribute and can Tom Gugliotta stay healthy? Those are all questions that will need to be answered.
Tale of the Tape: 7-0, 250 lbs, Pittsburgh, 5th Season
2003-04 Stats: 10.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg.
Skinny: For the first time in over a decade, the Celtics enter the season knowing who their starting center is, and are confident that they wont have to worry about the position. With Blount, the Celtics have one of the hardest working players in the league, and a guy who's hungry to win. Blount blossomed last year, becoming one of the top centers in the league, and should improve even more this season with a point guard like Gary Payton to get him the ball in the right spots.
Questions: The only question for Blount is whether last season was an aberration or was that the real deal. But that question cab be answered in the 7-0 center's work ethic. This is a guy who pushes himself at all times, and should benefit from Doc Rivers fast break style of basketball.
Tale of the Tape: 6-10, 280 lbs, Ozen HS, 2nd Season
2003-04 Stats: 10 games played, 2.2 ppg and 1.4 rpg.
Skinny: Kendrick Perkins returns to the Celtics this season looking less like a kid and more like a man. Many players directly out of high school ride the pine their first year and waste the season, but not Kendrick. He seized the opportunity, and worked his tail off. These are all good signs, as Kendrick will get a chance to show the coaching staff that he's ready to contribute, which would be a big boost for the Celtics this season
Questions: We said he'll get the chance, but is he ready? His body looks good and he worked hard, but now it's up to Perkins to translate the hard work into results on the court.
Tale of the Tape: 6-10, 250 lbs, North Carolina State, 13th Season
2003-04 Stats: 2.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 55 games played
Skinny: Googs is mainly a power forward, but in the Eastern Conference he can also play center. Put him in the lineup with Raef LaFrentz, and the Celtics would be very tough to guard for opposing big men. He's a veteran who's smart, plays defense, rebounds and can knock down the open jumper, all things the Celtics will benefit from. His veteran leadership will also be valuable to guys like Perkins and Al Jefferson.
Questions: As we mentioned in the power forward depth chart, health is a concern for Googs. If he stays healthy he will definitely have an impact on this team, as Doc Rivers has a lot of trust in the veteran.
Tale of the Tape: 6-10, 230 lbs, California, 8th Season
2003-04 Stats: 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 15 games with Celtics
Skinny: Yogi is a solid veteran, who can give you minutes in certain situations. He's not going to surprise you, but the coaching staff knows that they can use him for stretches if the team is in foul trouble. Stewart will rebound, play defense and get people like Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis open.
Questions: Stewart hasn't played much over the last few seasons, but he'll have to prove to the coaches that he'll be ready when called upon. The Celtics will need him to practice hard and challenge the frontline players in practice.