2019-20 ROSTER BREAKDOWN
As their title indicates, the bigs are the largest players on the floor. They’re responsible for banging bodies in the post,
protecting the rim and using their tall vantage points to communicate to the defense. Here are the six
players who will likely be sharing that job for the Celtics this season:
Not only did the Celtics pluck one of the top ball-handlers off of the free agent market this summer in signing
Kemba Walker, but they also inked one of the NBA’s premier rebounders and interior scorers in Enes Kanter.
The 6-foot-11 Turkish center has been a force on the glass for the past eight seasons. He was particularly
menacing against the Celtics, against whom he averaged 12.1 rebounds per game over his last nine matchups.
More specifically, Kanter has excelled on the offensive glass throughout his career. He has finished among the
top three in offensive rebounding percentage during each of the past five seasons, while twice owning the No.
1 rate in the league (2015-16, 2017-18). That’s good news for a Celtics franchise that hasn’t seen a player finish
among the top three in that department in more than 40 years.
On top of his rebounding, Kanter offers an elite interior offensive skill set. He is a career 54.1 percent shooter
from the field, with most of those buckets coming from inside the paint where he uses an arsenal of post moves
to beat his defenders. The 27-year-old has also expressed a desire to add a 3-pointer to his game, which would
open things u BIG p even more for himself and for his teammates.
The Celtics will miss having both Al Horford and Aron Baynes manning their frontcourt this season, but their
departures should open up the door for third-year big man Daniel Theis.
Theis has been a solid role player for the C’s over the last two seasons, as he averaged 5.5 points, 3.9 rebounds
and 0.7 blocks per game, while shooting 54.5 percent from the field. Having played an average of 14.3 minutes
per match, those numbers translate to 13.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes.
Last season, Theis shot 54.9 percent from the field, making him Boston’s most efficient shooter among players
who appeared in at least half of the team’s regular-season games. He also excelled from the 3-point line, where
he connected on 38.8 percent of his attempts.
Theis has also shown the ability to step up when given extended minutes. Take Boston’s Dec. 8 matchup last
season in Chicago for example: the 6-foot-9 big man earned a spot-start against the Bulls and produced 22
points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks over 32 minutes of turnover-free action. He also had a plus-50
rating during that game, which the Celtics won by a franchise-record 56 points. He had another 20-point game
Feb. 7 against the Lakers, during which he shot a career-best 9-of-11 from the field over 23 minutes of play.
Another player who could jump up the depth chart is Robert Williams. The 6-foot-10 center showed promise
during his rookie season, as he shot 70.6 percent from the field and blocked 5.1 shots per 36 minutes. His
opportunities were slim, however, as he averaged just 8.8 minutes of action over 32 games.
The one place where Williams had a few chances to play extensively was in Maine, where he averaged 15.2
points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game for the G League’s Red Claws, while shooting an astounding
73.3 percent from the field. He also saw solid minutes during the 2019 Summer League in Las Vegas, where he
produced a ridiculous 18.1 rebounds per 36 minutes during four appearances.
Coach Brad Stevens noted earlier this month that Williams has had “as good a summer as anybody” for the C’s.
With that in mind, this could be a great opportunity for the promising youngster to break out.
2019–2020 BOSTON CELTICS YEARBOOK 121