When watching the Boston Celtics play this past season, something was painfully evident: they needed a great deal of frontcourt help, especially at the power forward position.
As a result, Boston was forced to play a lot of small ball during their playoff run and were exposed on the defensive end as a result, often times losing the rebounding battle by a wide margin.
Luckily, heading into this summer’s free agent period, the Celtics have enough cap room to make a major splash and sign a max player.
While Gordon Hayward has been rumored to be a natural fit due to his connection with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who had him under his wing at Butler University, Blake Griffin is another name for Boston to consider.
And, as discussed by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast, Griffin is a “primary target” for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.
“Blake Griffin, and I think the Clippers may think this too, and certainly some other teams, Boston is really the danger for Blake Griffin. I think Boston’s two primary free-agent targets right now are Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. Now they’re not going to get both of them, but they’re both players who would potentially have interest there, and who Boston I think looks at in different ways with their future,” he said at the 23-minute mark.
The ultra-athletic Griffin averaged 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 33.4 minutes over 61 regular-season games for the Clippers this past regular season as well as 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 33.0 minutes in three playoff games before re-injuring his toe.
During the regular season, Boston ranked 27th in rebounding differential with a negative-2.5 mark. In the playoffs, the Celtics owned the worst mark of all 16 teams in terms of rebounding differential, with a negative-6.6 mark. One consequence of that was their opponents scoring 14.3 second-chance points per game.
Griffin’s athleticism alongside Al Horford’s versatility would give the Celtics one of the most formidable frontcourt tandems in the Eastern Conference. Griffin would also become a legitimate second option on the offensive end, giving Isaiah Thomas some relief in that department.
After holding the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs this past season, the Celtics have a legitimate chance at landing a high-profile max free agent and also hold the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft on June 22.
Therefore, things are looking up in Boston, and if they’re able to add Griffin to their roster, they might even be considered the favorites to come out of the East as early as next year.