This past season a ton of hype was given to the lack of front court depth the Celtics had after the KG and Powe injuries. Couple that with Marbury’s offensive struggling and Eddie House and Tony Allen’s lack of true point guard skill, there wasn’t enough attention paid to the most glaring need on last year’s Celtic team: a backup small forward. Bill Walker was too young, Tony Allen was too small and inconsistent. This caused Paul Pierce to assume the entire role as a small forward, and log even more minutes at the power forward position when the Celtics went small.
When Doc first addressed the off season moves the Celtics hoped to make, he made it clear that “only veterans need apply.” Then a few weeks later, ESPN reported a potential godsend to the Celtics in the form of Josh Childress. After the fans of his Greek team, the Olympiakos, began rioting against rival fans that caused a delay in the game and burn injuries, Childress was quoted as saying, “The violence we saw today, will make me think real hard over my future in Europe.”
Despite quickly clarifying the remarks:
“The fans are obviously very passionate because we’re in the finals of the Greek championship,” Childress, in Athens, said by phone to The Associated Press. “Yes, there was unnecessary violence. It obviously doesn’t help the game. It doesn’t help the players, but that will not have an effect on my decision about where I play next year.”
It appears the Childress has at least put the option of returning to the NBA on the table. At the end of the article, Childress mentions that he has not talked to Atlanta’s GM, but expects his agent will after the Greek season is over. If Childress were to return to the NBA, Atlanta would still own his rights as a restricted free agent. However, I can’t see the Hawks trying to sign him, when they have Maurice Evans signed through next year and Marvin Williams needing an extension (Although, I’m not picky- I’ll take Marvin Williams, an inch taller and a good three point shooter, could see some minutes at the four…).
Although, a lot needs to happen (Zach will explore some sign and trade scenarios with Atlanta later) for Childress to even come back to the NBA, let alone the Celtics, the prospect is exciting for Celtics fans nonetheless because he addresses many of their needs at the backup small forward position.
He’s young, but a veteran. Josh Childress is 25 years old, played four seasons in the NBA and one in Greece. This means he’s experienced and he won’t get gassed by the end of the year like some of the older members of our bench.
He’s an intelligent player, that does all the little things. He played his college ball at Stanford and would no doubt be able to get down the Thibodeau rotations better than Mikki Moore. He plays hard, he plays well. He attacks the rim and crashes the boards.
He’s long and athletic. Childress stands 6’8″ (7’0″ with full Afro) with a 6″11″ wingspan. Definitely a reliable defender against the league’s other swing men.
In order for Childress to come to the Celtics, he must also be willing to come off the bench. He’s currently a starter for the Olympiakos and the incentive to start may have been something that attracted him to Europe in the first place (that and 20 mil over three seasons). Along with coming off the bench, he also has to be willing to take a substantial pay cut. This, however, may not seem like such a sacrifice when Childress takes into account the fact that he won’t be dodging flaming objects in America. Plus, as we’ve learned from the Michael Jackson Pepsi Commercial Incident (renacted here) hair is flammable, and Childress has a lot of it.
The only knock against Childress is his outside shooting. He’s not the dead-eye three point shooter the way Posey was, and reports out of Europe say he’s not shooting well beyond their closer-to-the-basket arc, which is not a good sign. Three point shooting from this position can be back breaking as we’ve seen this post season from Mikael Pietrus, JR Smith, and Eddie House. Still, shooting is not going to be Boston’s primary concern this off season. They won a championship with a team built on defense, which is definitely one of Childress’ strengths. Also, the Celtics are sure to address further outside shooting depth with the backup point guard position, as there’s no use having two non-shooting point guards (although I wouldn’t mind Jason Kidd off the bench).
Only time will tell if Childress will become a real possibility for the Celtics. Right now, putting the hyperbole of Marvin Williams and Jason Kidd in Celtic Green aside, if I could have any of the upcoming free agents, I’d pick him. We’ll be discussing more options at the small forward position as the off season goes on and feel free to leave your favorites in the comment section. Also look for Zach’s post for more information.