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State of the Celtics Roster: Frontcourt

(Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

The Celtics roster currently sits full with the NBA limit 15 players under contract. Barring any surprise major moves, the team the Celtics would field on a basketball court today, is likely the one they’ll strut out on opening night.

In part one of the Celtics roster breakdown, we looked at the Celtics backcourt. In part two we look at the Celtics imbalanced frontcourt:

Small forward

Keith BogansBogans, while just 33, is now the oldest player on the Celtics’ roster. The very definition of a journeyman, the Celtics will be the eighth team of his NBA career. Don’t expect too much from him since he’s never averaged more than 9.6 points per game (in his sophomore season) and 41% shooting (in 07-08 with the Magic). Hopefully he can provide veteran leadership and toughness, because it’s been about six years since he contributed anything to the box score.

Jeff GreenAlong with Rondo and Bradley, Green is poised to lead this team in the years to come. He was acquired back in 2011 to eventually fill Pierce’s shoes, and the time has now come to do just that. Green was mostly very good last season, his first after undergoing heart surgery, averaging 12.8 points on 46.7% field goals and 38.5% three-pointers. The team’s situation is ideal for Green, as it will allow him to work on his deficiencies (rebounding, for one) and be ready to lead the Celtics when they are once again contenders.

Gerald WallaceIt’s hard to believe Wallace is only 31. This will be his 13th season in the league and, although he’s coming off his worst season since 2003-04, he’s not too old to turn things around. A big factor will be his attitude. Wallace has never played for a real contender since he was a rookie with the Kings, and he may not be too thrilled about joining another rebuilding team. At this point it looks like the Celtics will not, as had been suggested, use the stretch provision on him, but he could be a trade candidate at the deadline or even sooner.

The bottom line: It’s time for Green to be a starter, and that should happen right away. Wallace can be a very important contributor as the Celtics’ sixth man, but if he can’t adjust to his role as a backup on a bad team, a trade could be a win-win.

Power forward

Brandon BassBass had a disappointing season, averaging just 8.7 points per game (down from 12.5 in 2011-12), but there’s no reason to panic. He had most of his best performances over the final two months, and he should be able to carry that solid play over into this season. He will still be an important part of the Celtics’ offense.

Kris HumphriesThe NBA’s laughingstock is coming to Boston after a very poor season which saw his playing time and productivity plummet. Still, don’t get too low on him: largely lost in the barrage of Kim Kardashian jokes was the fact that Humphries averaged a double-double in both 2010-11 and 11-12. The Celtics were outrebounded by just about everybody last year, so Humphries’s presence will provide a boost in that department. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Jared SullingerSullinger’s back problems caught up with him just when he was playing his best, causing him to miss the second half of the season. He surpassed 10 rebounds six times as a rookie, and that number should go up along with his playing time. If his surgery put a definitive end to his back issues, Sullinger has a very bright future ahead of him.

The bottom line: Bass started 69 games last year, and he should continue to be the starter at the four position. A lack of depth at center means that the 6’9″ Humphries and Sullinger could both see significant time at the five.


Vítor FaveraniThe latest addition to the Boston roster is a 25-year-old Brazilian big man who’s played his entire pro career in Spain, which has one of the top leagues in Europe. It’s always hard to predict what an undrafted rookie can do, especially an international one, but Faverani could benefit from a relative lack of competition. He also has to be considered a candidate to spend time in the D-League.

Fab MeloMelo was nothing short of outstanding in the D-League, but his transition to a full-time role in the NBA doesn’t seem to be any closer. His inconsistent play and offensive shortcomings were on full display at Summer League. The scarcity of bigs likely means that the Celtics can’t afford to have both Brazilians in the D-League at the same time, so we could see much more of Melo in Boston this year, ready or not.

Kelly OlynykThe Celtics’ first-round draft pick came with red flags, particularly about a perceived lack of toughness on the defensive end. His performance in Orlando, however, was very encouraging. On offense, he showed off great athleticism for a seven-footer along with a deft shooting touch, and he held his own defensively as well. He’ll probably struggle at times against the more physical NBA veterans, but the future is bright for the long-haired Canadian.

The bottom line: When your three centers have played a grand total of six NBA games combined, you know your situation is far from ideal. Olynyk could very well be the starter from day one, and the development of Faverani and Melo will determine whether they stay in Boston or spend significant time in Maine, which would mean more minutes at center for Humphries and/or Sullinger.

About Nick García - @N_A_Garcia

Nick is the Celtics and college sports editor at Sports of Boston. He writes about basketball, football and anything else that comes his way. Follow him on Twitter @N_A_Garcia

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