Can Celtics continue seriously competing without a dominant big man?
Of the four NBA teams still competing for the 2020 Championship, the Boston Celtics are the only one without a dominant big man. The Los Angeles Lakers have Anthony Davis. The Denver Nuggets have Nikola Jokic manning the center position, and the Miami Heat place Bam Adebayo at the five-spot.
Conversely, Boston has the Daniel Theis-Rob Williams (TW) tandem sharing the center spot. A quick glance at the 2020 post-season stats show, at least on the surface, that the TW duo matches up fairly well with the individual members of the Davis-Jokic-Adebayo (DJA) trio. The numbers for DJA are an average of the three, while the stats for the Celtics duo are combined.
Boston's center pairing averages a combined 40.4 MPG, while the DJA center crew log 36.2 MPG. It is no surprise that the three star centers get the nod on average points (23.1 PPG vs. 12.9 PPG) and assists (5.1 vs. 2.4), but the Green Centers take honors on blocks (1.9 vs. 1.1) and turnovers (1.4 vs. 2.9). Rebounds (10-11) and steals (.7-.9) are virtually even.
At the age of 28, fans may feel that Theis has reached his peak, but it can be argued that he is only in his third season in the NBA, and thus far he has improved each year. Another point is that Rob Williams is only 22 years old and is still raw on some parts of his game. He is still a work in progress.
Whether Danny Ainge decides to trade for a dominant big in the near future may depend on just how Daniel and Rob fare against the Heat's Bam Adebayo, and possibly versus Jokic or Davis if they do indeed come out of the East victorious.
Boston's tall wing corps of the Jay Team and Gordon Hayward may negate the need for a dominant big in the middle. That question may also be decided in the remaining playoff games. But right now, the Theis-Williams pairing seems to be holding their own in the post-season.