The Boston Celtics are the top dogs right now in the Eastern Conference with a 36-15 record that results in a .706 winning percentage. The Celtics are a hard team to beat, but their biggest weakness is the lack of options at the frontcourt positions (power forward and center).
Boston’s frontcourt minutes split mostly between all-star Al Horford (32.7 minutes), Aron Baynes (18 minutes), and Daniel Theis (13.6 minutes). The group is good enough for the regular-season, but I think the Celtics should go get a ferocious rebounding machine in Noah Vonleh, who would be a nice spark plug piece off the bench.
Noah Vonleh brings versatility by being able to play both the power forward and center position and he would lineup as a center for the Celtics, as they play some small ball.
In addition, Vonleh has always been a better player on the defensive side, as he owns a career 3.4 defensive win shares (dws) and 1.8 block percentage. Not only is he a great rebounder, but he can be an underrated shot blocker.
Now, he is solid at drawing fouls in the offensive paint and has averaged 3.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this year (30 games) on 15.1 minutes on the court. He is shooting 78 percent from the charity stripe.
Lastly, this does not sound like a wowing pickup, but I think it could be a pickup that gets their bench to the next level and makes the team better for a long run in the playoffs.
First Note: The Celtics have $8.4 million in disabled player exception to add someone to their roster without giving anyone up, which is perfect for this type of trade.
Second Note: The Portland Trail Blazers have not figured out to unleash Vonleh’s true potential, which I think Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens can do.
Third Note: Al Horford is bound to decline and maybe Horford could help Vonleh improve on being a better shooter, plus Vonleh’s pick-and-roll potential with Kyrie Irving is enticing.
Fourth Note: Vonleh would be a cheap option on the bench. He would have a qualifying offer of next year for a high $4.7 million.
F/C Noah Vonleh
Trail Blazers receive:
2 conditional second-round picks
F Abdel Nader
(Trail Blazers dump Noah Vonleh to potentially get a better player and get more flexible on trade market)