- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The most popular question in the Celtics mailbag when we tore it open: Should the Celtics sign Jimmer Fredette?
This is the 2013-14 season, everybody! We're at the point where fans are wondering if castaways from the Sacramento Kings (!!!) can help the Celtics navigate their rebuilding process. With reports indicating that Fredette will soon be bought out, some fans want the Celtics to pounce on the former first-round pick.
I get it. The trade deadline passed with no activity from the Celtics and some fans were upset because even the tiniest of moves offers savior-like hope when your team is struggling. In a year where some fans were begging for a Jordan Crawford-like acquisition, getting Fredette off the scrap heap would be the perfect mea culpa from Danny Ainge for ruining their deadline week.
Fredette is obviously a very intriguing offensive player and his ability to handle the ball adds to his value. But he doesn't rebound, his turnover percentage has spiked this season and his defense is atrocious.
The Kings allow 105.7 points per 100 possessions, the seventh-worst total in the NBA. But that number spikes to 108.6 when Fredette is on the court. According to individual defensive data logged by Synergy Sports, Fredette allows 0.948 points per play, ranking in the 18th percentile among all league players.
Boston fans love reclamation projects. And, after what the team accomplished with Jordan Crawford, you wonder if the Celtics could get Fredette on track. They have an open roster spot, enough available money to add a serviceable body before the end of the season, and some available backcourt minutes due to Avery Bradley's ankle injury.
But the guess here is that Fredette would be better served with a contender, where expectations would be minimal and he could try to jump-start his career in a defined offense-focused role.
This wouldn't be the first time the Celtics passed on Fredette.
Now let's tackle the rest of your lingering Celtics questions:
Q: I know the Celtics are not that good, but how much better would they be if they just had a center? They are getting destroyed by the other team's big men. Do you think there is any chance Vitor Faverani gets some playing time once he recovers from his knee injury, or will he be back in Maine? -- Vin (Johnston, R.I.)
A: I'd be interested to see Faverani get some additional NBA reps before season's end just to gauge his development. The guess here is that, once healthy, he'll head back to the D-League to shake the rust from being inactive for much of this month. But maybe some April action would add a dash of intrigue to Boston's final games. Adding a legitimate center next to Jared Sullinger would seemingly be high on the team's priority list this summer (whether via the draft or an alternate route). I believe having a legit center anchoring the defense could do wonders for a Boston team that, even without that pure size, spent much of the early part of the season near the top 10 in efficiency. It's part of the reason we were so high on the pursuit of Omer Asik and wonder if the Celtics would revisit it this summer when they'll have that hefty trade exception ($10.3 million) available and picks to offer the Rockets should they not land a big in the draft.
A: Is there room for growth in Green's game? Absolutely. Can he unlock that talent here in Boston and maintain it consistently moving forward? I'm not sold. The difficult part with Green is that you don't want to be the team that gives up on him, then have him develop into an All-Star elsewhere. Despite Green's flaws, the Celtics appear to have maintained a high price tag for his services at this year's trade deadline. He'll turn 28 in August and should be entering his prime. But right now he simply doesn't impact the game enough when he's not scoring. A player with his size and athleticism should rebound with little effort, yet his rebound rates are cringe-worthy. He should consistently fluster other wings, but his defense is spotty at times. What we'd like to see over the final two months is Boston get its roster healthy and see what Green is capable of doing when the Celtics have a healthier Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger on the court next to him. As is the case for many on this roster, Green's future could be tied in part to the draft and whether Boston lands a player at his position.
A: You know what, Danny Ainge really kind of nailed it with how he introduced Olynyk after last year's draft. I remember being surprised that Ainge was dubbing the 13th pick a complementary piece and a role player, but the way Boston's roster is currently constructed, that's exactly what Olynyk is. He's a 7-footer you can pull off the bench to provide an offensive jolt, whether with his ability to shoot the ball or facilitate the offense with his passing skills. The game is clearly slowing down for Olynyk and his recent development passes the eyeball test. The Celtics need to continue to find minutes for him and put him on track to be a key contributor next season. As with any of Boston's young talent, there's always the chance he's trade fodder, but the more cap-effective route is to nurture him and hope his game continues to evolve.
Q: Of the players on the current roster, and knowing that we should see significant changes this summer, who do you see definitely returning next year? -- Brian (Halifax, Mass.)
A: Brad Stevens? (Gulp) Gerald Wallace?
Listen, there's a chance that Boston brings back a very familiar core with the likes of Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger and Olynyk. Heck, even Brandon Bass has another year on his deal and younger players Faverani, Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson should be around unless the roster gets overcrowded. But it's hard to say with any certainty who will be here. So much hinges on the Celtics' draft position and the player(s) they add on draft night. The Celtics could just as easily decide that Rondo and Green are not part of their future, that Bradley isn't worth paying for, and that Sullinger and/or Olynyk should be moved in a Kevin Garnett-like deal for a more established player. But one thing is certain: Stevens will be on the sideline and, unless the Celtics find a taker for Wallace's contract by giving up some assets, it's likely he will be here too.
Q: What happens with a "protected" draft pick if it ends up in the lottery. Is the pick lost? Is it moved out for a year? Is there any other compensation? Or does it just go away? -- Ken (McLean, Va.)
A: It varies by protection. Most protected picks simply roll into the next season, but they also typically have a resolution point. For instance, if the 76ers make the playoffs this season (chuckles) or next (still stifling laughter), they send a first-round pick to Boston as part of the Joel Anthony/Jordan Crawford/MarShon Brooks three-way swap-a-roo. More likely, if Philly is in the lottery both seasons, it'll send Boston two second-round draft picks (2015, 2016).
Q: Two quick questions. Do the Celtics bring Colton Iverson back from overseas next season? And why didn't the Celtics make any moves come deadline? Bass and Green are taking minutes away from developing Olynyk and Johnson. -- OptimisticCeltic (Anaheim, Calif.)
A: Iverson's future likely hinges on how crowded Boston's roster is and his own development. The Celtics have kept close tabs on him overseas and he'll be able to rejoin the team for summer league with a chance to compete for a roster spot. As for the lack of trades, the Celtics set high price tags on their talent and, as we saw by the lack of activity around the league, few teams were willing to give up draft picks to acquire players.
Q: Is there a reason why you no longer post many postgame interviews with Rondo? I like to hear what he has to say. -- @BryantGomes (via Twitter)
A: Truthfully, it became cumbersome, particularly in large media scrums, to consistently get good quality video/audio (particularly with Rondo talking at a low volume). Right now we simply try to pick our spots with video, but if there's a groundswell from readers to bring it back, we'll certainly revisit.
Q: Is Danny Ainge constantly showing the movie "Tank Girl" to his staff and players? -- @CheddarHayes (via Twitter)
A: Ooh, I'm sorry. The topical "tank" reference we were looking for was "Shark Tank." Cheddar, you still have control of the board. Pick again.
A: Honestly, I doubt it. Rondo's No. 1 priority is to win (and No. 2 is to avoid trade rumors). Those factors will influence where he plays after the summer of 2015 far more than video tributes. That being said, they do resonate with players. Brandon Bass won't stop talking about his desire to be in one.
Q: Do you think the Celtics are going to have players suddenly start getting "nagging injuries" or the flu bug or something these last few months? I think the third-worst record is very much in play here with Orlando surging suddenly, and bottom three equals a guarantee of getting of one of the Fab Six coming out (Wiggins, Embiid, Randle, Exum, Parker, Smart) even if three teams get lucky in the lottery. -- Jay (Methuen, Mass.)
A: Don't fret, Jay. The injury bug hasn't even needed an invite to chomp away on Boston recently. And a tough schedule next month should keep the Celtics among the league's cellar dwellers moving forward.
4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann