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Boston Celtics: Free Agent Signings

Within the past week and a half the Boston Celtics have been taking full advantage of the 10-day contract. What was once a depleted 12 man roster, is now a full squad. Following injuries to starting point guard, Rajon Rondo, and rookie big man, Jared Sullinger, it was clear that Danny Ainge had some work to do. The Celtics found themselves in a tough spot with no true point guard and even less help on the boards. After carefully assessing their options, the Celtics found three guys who they thought could come in and contribute right away. Let’s meet the guys, starting with the most recent signing.

Shavlik Randolph

Earlier this morning, CSN’s Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely broke the news:

Randolph played his college ball at Duke and in 2005 he declared for the NBA Draft and went undrafted. However, the Philadelphia 76ers gave him a shot by inviting him to training camp, where he played well enough to earn a roster spot. Unfortunately, after spending three years in Philly he became somewhat of a journeyman as he bounced between three teams in the next two seasons. By 2010 he found himself out of the Association and decided to take his talents overseas. Most recently, over the course of the 2012-13 Chinese Basketball Association’s campaign, he averaged an absurd 32.0 PPG and 14.6 RPG. I bet you’re thinking he did it over just a few games and got lucky in one of those contests. That’s just simply not the case, because Randolph was able to maintain these numbers through 28 games.

July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Wizards player Shavlik Randolph (32) takes a free throw during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What to Expect

Shavlik Randolph will not average 32 and 14 in the NBA, I’m just getting that out of the way now. However, if given an adequate amount of minutes, I fully expect him to grab around 5-6 rebounds a game. As for his role offensively, he will probably be lucky if he averages about 4 per outing. He is definitely a capable player on the offensive end but the Celtics didn’t sign him to score the ball. Currently, Boston is ranked 29th in the NBA in rebounds per game as a unit. Enter Randolph, now the team has a 6’10, 236 pound body to throw his weight around down in the trenches.

As a member of the NBA, Randolph has posted averages of 2.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG in just a little over 8 MPG. In an odd way, I’m kind of glad that’s the case. With such low career averages, he will be free to play with practically no expectations at all. While no doubt he will be nervous playing through this 10-day contract, I think he can breathe a little easier than most due to the fact that the Celtics faithful won’t know much about him. If he under performs you’ll hear fans saying, “Well what did you expect,” and if he plays to the potential I know he has you’ll be listening to more of, “Wow, solid pickup for the C’s.” Over the next 10-days the Celtics will take on the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, and Oklahoma City Thunder. There will be plenty of opportunity for Randolph to showcase his skills so keep an eye out for the big guy, he’ll be wearing number 42.

D.J. White

Two days ago, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports announced that the Celtics would be signing D.J. White:

D.J. White was selected 29th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He is only one year removed from the NBA as he played for the Charlotte Bobcats last season. For the majority of this year’s campaign, White found himself suiting up for the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA. Like Randolph, White also dominated in China this season posting per game averages of 21 and 10.

March 7, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats forward DJ White (8) drives to the basket while playing against the Los Angeles Clippers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

What to Expect

White is a bruising 6’9, 250 pound forward who was also brought on to help on the boards. For his career, he averages 16.2 MPG and produces about 6 points and 3 rebounds in that time. Although he sports a 50% FG for his career, don’t look for him to light up the score board. While it is refreshing that he can score rather efficiently, his focus will be on defense and rebounding the basketball. Unlike Randolph, I expect White to come out with a good amount of confidence. He’s played against and alongside the best the league has to offer. With that said, he should fit in somewhat seamlessly as he already knows what to expect from most players. Most importantly, though, White is going to bring more toughness to the floor. Earlier this season, Doc Rivers had accused his team of being soft. Since then they have gotten tougher and have been more aggressive but there is still room for improvement. When Sullinger went down I started seeing players boxing out for rebounds even less. Sully was really the only one who would drive his man out of the way to get the rebound. D.J. White will take the floor and look to put a body on somebody right away.

Terrence Williams

What started out as a 10-day contract turned into a full-time gig:

When Terrence Williams signed his 10-day contract with the Celtics, I saw it as a perfect opportunity for him. The Celtics needed some help at the guard position and Williams has proved to be a good fit so far in Boston. In fact, he finds himself playing alongside former teammate, Courtney Lee, and Seattle area natives, Avery Bradley and Jason Terry. I don’t think that Williams could have dreamed up a better situation for himself. If his option for next year is picked up, I am seriously interested in seeing what he will do alongside Rajon Rondo. Williams is extremely athletic and has the ability to throw it down with the best of them.

What to Expect

Williams is averaging 4.3 points and 2 assists per game so far in his short stint with the Celtics. Although the numbers might be low, he’s only been logging around 14 minutes per game. As the year goes on and he gets more practice time under his belt, his minutes will increase. Williams has surprised me with his passing skills thus far and I have a feeling he will be able to get his assist numbers to about 5 a game by season’s end. He makes the correct passes at the correct times and he hardly forces the issue.

Not only can he move the ball around effectively, he has a consistent jump shot. A small sample size of 46% and 50% from the field and behind the arc, respectively, suggests that he’s more than capable of scoring the basketball. Realistically, I think he can probably up his scoring average to around 8 PPG before the season is over. His focus right now is to be a facilitator so he won’t be doing a large amount of scoring. However, if he sticks around next year, I think he has the potential to score anywhere between 12-14 points per game with Rondo setting him up. The C’s were very fortunate to sign Williams at this point in the season. As long as he continues to be a dynamic offensive player the Celtics will be more than happy to have him.

The night I heard that Terrence Williams would be joining the Celtics, I decided to ask him how he felt about the whole situation. He told me that he hadn’t been to sleep since he received the call.

I’m glad that Williams is proud to be a member of my Celtics and I’m looking forward to watching him get better each day under Doc Rivers’ tutelage. The only thing I have to say to TWill is that I hope he’s been able to get some rest, because we’re gonna need him at his best for the rest of the season.


tmaclean