Tuesday, March 18, 2014
What to do with Babb?
By Chris Forsberg
Chris Babb's second 10-day deal expires on Thursday evening, meaning Wednesday's visit from the Miami Heat could be his final chance to make an impression.
And there's no guarantee he'll get that opportunity. With the recent return of Avery Bradley adding depth to Boston's backcourt, Babb has logged three consecutive DNPs. In six appearances since being signed from the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, Babb has averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds over 11.5 minutes per game.
Here's the case for Babb: He's been an excellent teammate and has made a positive impact when he's been given the chance to be on the floor. Boston's defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is a mere 87.4 with Babb in the game (or 16 ½ points below the team's season average, albeit in an obviously super small sample). He's been thrust into some tough matchups, including being sent out to guard Indiana's Paul George after checking in for his NBA debut, but he has held his own in large part because of his tenacity.
For the Celtics, the decision won't necessarily be based on money. By our calculations, the team still has about about $0.75 million to play with below the luxury tax line -- depending on season performance incentives -- and any player they sign to occupy that final roster spot will be prorated for no more the 27 days that will remain in the season starting on Friday. Boston could diminish that salary commitment further by waiting until later in the season -- say, the final day -- to ink a player to occupy that 15th roster spot.
The question for Boston appears to be whether it would risk someone else scooping up Babb to stash at the end of their roster, or if he's a guy they desire to carry through the summer and bring back for training camp.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been strong in his support of Babb, voicing his desire to keep him around after the initial 10-day pact. In much the same way Chris Johnson played his way onto the team earlier this season, Babb's energy tends to be infectious when he's on the floor. As the Celtics play out the string, those are good players to have on the roster.