Should C's be interested in Turiaf?

March, 18, 2012
3/18/12
4:38
PM ET
Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty ImagesRonny Turiaf at work for his national team.
With news that the Denver Nuggets have waived recently acquired center Ronny Turiaf (received Thursday from the Wizards in a three-way deadline featuring Nene, JaVale McGee and Nick Young), the natural question for the big man-craving Celtics is whether they should be interested in pursuing him. A few things to consider:

* Turiaf is nursing a broken left hand he suffered in a game, coincidentally, against Boston on Jan. 1. More from the Washington Post, from an article earlier this month, detailing his slow return to action:
[Turiaf] said the Wizards’ medical and training staff has been especially cautious with him since he injured the same hand last summer while playing for the French national team. “If it was just me, choosing to play, I would’ve been back a long time ago,” Turiaf said. “They are putting the strain on myself, on me, because they know sometimes, I may not be the most rational guy when it comes to helping teammates and to do stuff.”

* Injuries have limited Turiaf to four games and 14 minutes of playing time this season.

* When Turiaf is healthy, he's a rather efficient offensive player. In 64 appearances for the Knicks last season, he averaged 1.085 points per play, ranking him in the 95th percentile among all NBA players. He's actually one of the best at rolling to the hoop in the pick-and-roll and excels as a cutter. Don't get too excited, it only translated into 4.2 points over 17.8 minutes per game, but it shows that good things happen when he gets the ball.

* Defensively, the news isn't as sunny. Turiaf is middle of the pack, allowing 0.89 points per play last season (53rd percentile). His career defensive rating is 107 (and was only slightly better in his time with the Lakers than the Warriors and Knicks). And this may be the deal-breaker: Turiaf just isn't that good on the glass. For his career, he's averaged 3.8 rebounds over 17.9 minutes per game, but his total rebound percentage is just 11.9 percent (only slightly better than JaJuan Johnson this season). His career defensive rebounding percentage is 16.7 percent (Wilcox was at 20.2, while Jermaine O'Neal was 19.9 this year).

* Given all the heart woes that Boston has endured this season, Turiaf actually is an inspiring story. After being drafted by the Lakers in 2005, a physical detected an enlarged aortic root, which required open-heart surgery. Turiaf returned to the court less than six months after his surgery (and has had no issues since).

* Turiaf has playoff experience, which is always beneficial, having made 30 postseason appearances, including 19 with the Lakers during the 2007-08 run to the Finals.

* Turiaf is a native of Martinique; there's a good chance that Mickael Pietrus (a native of Guadeloupe) wouldn't mind having a countryman (France) in the locker room.

Final thoughts: Put him on the radar, but like Chris Johnson, there shouldn't be an all-out rush to sign him (by any team). The Celtics' biggest need is an energy big who can clean up the glass -- that's not Turiaf's strength. But his ruggedness and experience make him an intriguing option.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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