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In Which We Argue For The Release Of Von Wafer

 

The Celtics should release Von Wafer.

This has nothing to do with Wafer’s dustup with the returning Delonte West, who will suit up Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. Nor does it have anything to do with Wafer’s play – he’s hardly had enough run to make an impression one way or another.

The Celtics should release Wafer because Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal can’t stay healthy.

Which hardly seems fair, I know.

After all – Wafer isn’t four hundred years old (Shaq), with failing knees (Shaq, Jermaine), a ring of fat around his belly (Shaq), questionable conditioning (Jermaine), a balky jumpshot (Jermaine) and an inability to hit free throws (Shaq). And it’s not like he’s costing the Celtics much, with his partially-guaranteed veteran minimum contract. It’s not like Danny Ainge spent the full freaking midlevel on him only to find he left whatever little lift he had back in South Beach. Or Toronto. Or Indiana.

Still, Wafer has to go.

Because with Shaq and JO unsure bets to play on any given night, the Celtics prime concern should be bridging time until Kendrick Perkins returns in January or February. And they’re running out of capable big men to do it.

If the Celtics replace Wafer with (preferably) a legitimate backup center floating around the the NBA periphery (Erick Dampier, perhaps) or a project big who could suck up some minutes and pull down a few offensive boards (Tiny Gallon, Stephane Lasme), Doc Rivers can keep Big Ticket and Ticket Stub fresh for when the games really count.

Plus, signing Dampier would have the secondary effect of keeping him away from Miami – which reportedly still has interest.

(It should be noted here that I don’t have a lot of confidence in Luke Harangody’s ability to defend his position at the NBA level. I’d be happy to be proven wrong).

Still not convinced?

Then have a look at the backcourt.

With West returning, the Celtics have four guards who can provide solid minutes. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen will go for about 35 or so each. That leaves around 26 minutes per game unassigned in the backcourt, easily swallowed up by West and the increasingly productive Nate Robinson. And don’t we want to invest some minutes in Avery Bradley at some point?

The only conceivable reasons to have Wafer on this roster are if you think he can be the third wheel behind Paul Pierce/Marquis Daniels at the 3 spot. Or if you want to hedge against ‘Quis getting injured (admittedly – that’s not much of a stretch).

However, Wafer is 6’5” with questionable defensive credentials. Not exactly a Lebron-stopper.

So I ask you, voices of Celtics Nation… do you still crave the Wafer, or is it time to move onto something more fulfilling?

  • http://twitter.com/M_DeVelaine @M_DeVelaine

    Sign me up for any project that brings Stephane Lasme back to the team. Seriously. Wafer hasn't been worth it.

  • PA to MA

    Here's the problem: Wafer has gotten no minutes. Ideally, he would be sapping minutes so Rondo and Ray don't have to play as much, but Doc has shown no desire to lengthen the rotation, especially in meaningful games. On the other side of things, Shaq and Jermaine are doing a solid job of filling in for Perk, but with their injuries and general old-man-ness, a third center would be ideal. Semih is doing a solid job when he plays, but he's just not there. The ONLY advantage to keeping Wafer is as insurance in the event of an injury to Marquis. As you point out, he may not even be suited for this role. I say Wafer goes.

  • Eric

    This is a good thought that hadn't occurred to me, but it's unfortunate in a way because it seemed like Wafer could contribute, especially at his low position on the depth chart. Shows how deep the team is I guess.

    My question is: seems maybe a better option would be to assign Harangody to the D-League and try to upgrade on him. But I don't know enough to say whether this is possible or makes sense. Just seems like replacing Wafer with Gallon or Lasme would give you another big who you might not want to see in a game.

    • koolaid

      agree that harangody is the odd man out – not wafer. harangody will not contribute this year under any circumstances so should be the first to go to DLeague.

      my preference is to play erdin heavy minutes, even if it might cost us a game or two, he seems like a guy that is worth developing. but if he's hurting (as doc has been leading on), then we might need another temp big body. but dampier? please no. he could probably contribute but i love this roster now…. damp will not add to that at all :/

      i think JO has been a huge disappointment in terms of conditioning. i question his ability to stay on the court this year more than shaq. shaq has looked pretty spry overall. my suspicion is doc just gave shaq some extra games off after he tweaked his leg to give JO some time, and just to give shaq some extra rest…. no way he went from truly too hurt to play, to moving so well last game.

  • Scott

    This is something i mentioned right at the start of the season – saying there really was no point in keeping Wafer. Lets let Ray Allen ride out the first ten games, and see what he can do (he delivered…) and then when Delonte gets back, we have a viable back up for rondo (nate) ray (delonte) and paul (marquis). My idea, however, was to keep lasme as a potential injury back up in case marquis does go down (more than likely – he's playing great though now).

    I never thought about adding another big man, because when Perk gets back we'll have FOUR. And thats just at the center position. Baby is playing great in crunch time, but when we get a healthy perk out there, there might not be a need for many more over times. The bottom line is.. i think the wafer drop & dampier pick up would be a great addition. If he doesnt produce by the time perk gets back, then maybe you drop him (or another player) and pick up Lasme (or another player). Or you save him for injury.

    Or maybe you send erden down to the d-league and bring up lasme if quis gets hurt. We do need another big man until perk is back – and especially if perk isnt 100% when he does get back (which he most likely wont be).

    Drop Wafer – add a big man – reassess (when perk is healthy) what is needed most.

    Great idea Ryan. I am on board.

  • phreesh

    Man, that Celtic money sure spends easy, don't it? A bit worried about the health of your bigs after a few games? Spend a few hundred grand and get rid of a nice little player.

    I think you're hitting the panic button a little early. Yeah, the bigs have been nicked up a LOT early this season, but the Celtics have thrived in their absence and theoretically things can only get better, health-wise.

    On the other hand, Allen and Rondo are pulling down some serious minutes and a title run should see you giving them some more bench time to STAY healthy. I think you stand pat and protect the health of your guards rather than panic and get rid of a decent guard at a good price.

    • TedL

      This seems right. Wafer's play obviously hasn't impressed Doc, but then again we're only paying the minimum and if we do need a body down the line he's got to be better than anyone available in free agency.

      The one reason I'd drop him – which we're not in a position to know – is if his attitude is a big negative. He doesn't have the talent to justify keeping him around if he's going to sulk and pick fights.

      If we want to add a body, I'd prefer moving Harangody to the D League.

    • John S.

      As old as Shaq is I will be worried about his stamina ALL SEASON.

      Sending Harangody to the D-League is something I hadn't thought about, however. It's definitely worth considering.

  • Zain

    The conspiracy theory belief has always been, Wafer was signed to soak up Delonte's suspension. After 10 games, Wafer gets released, and at some point, Rasheed returns. God, I HOPE not. I'd like to see Lasme return, or perhaps old friend Leon Powe even. Though admittedly I haven't kept track of how Powe has been doing post surgery.

  • Morpheus

    OH HELL YES BRING LASME BACK PLEEEEEEEEEASE and fuck the "be careful what you ask for" motto….i'm asking for it, with cream and a cherry on top.

    Delonte's BACK.

  • Morpheus

    I think it's quite clear Wafer WILL be released anyway with Delonte back,now just have to assign Gody to the d-league and get Lasme back in

  • kricky

    I don't think Wafer can play the 3, so he is expendable at this point with West coming back.

    The problem is whom do you replace him with? Lasme was fun to watch, but we saw no evidence in preseason that he can guard the 5 or 3 spots in this league. We are pretty deep at the 4 right now.

    Even if he did come up would Doc play him? He hasn't given any minuted to Haragody, another undersized rookie big, but admittedly without Lasme's hops.

    I'm not sure there is enough left in the piggy bank to sign Dampier. The fact that he is still available may indicate that he doesn't have a whole lot left in the tank at this point.

    I think they will just stand pat for now and make any moves only if an injury comes up to Semi.

  • Adrian

    Two Words; Magnum Rolle.

    6'11" shot blocking center with a knack for the o-boards

  • I_Love_Green

    A few things: Yes to releasing Wafer, NO NO NO NO NO NO oh God NO to Erica Dampier, and yes to bringing back Lasme. We got Nate, Delonte, and Ray playing Wafer's position.
    Dampier is one of the softest bigs in the league. We don't take softees on our team, we beat on them. So please let him go to Miami. That would be subtraction by addition for them. Erica + RuPual=softest front court in the league.
    If we bring back Lasme, we can use a front court of him + Big Baby against a smaller team. Imagine how many offensive boards we'd get with those two in at the same time. He's 6'8" but with his wingspan and altheticism he'd be able to play center against guys 1-2 inches taller than him for a few minutes. If you want an actual center then go with Magnum Rolle. He can rebound, and block shots. If we have a situation where Shaq, and JO are out, then Rolle and Semih can play 10-15 minutes each. That would leave 20-25 minutes for a KG and Baby front court. In either situation, it would be better than keeping Wafer on the bench to collect dust.

  • KY Celts fan

    Dampier would not be a good signing. If Houston, whose starting center still isn’t healthy nor playing well, elected to keep a guard who hadn’t seen the court this year rather than sign Dampier, that should tell you something.

    I say don’t get over-panicky. I’m not sure when Wafer’s deal does become fully guaranteed, but we should wait a little closer til then before we sign a fifth center.

  • TMC

    How many other teams in the league can have a long debate about the effectiveness of their 14th man? let alone even KNOW their 14th man? I'm guessing only the Celtics and maybe the Lakers. Even the most adamant Heat fan with their dedicated "Heat Index" on ESPN would go "who the hell is Dexter Pittman"

    Hold on to Wafer till Bradley is ready, then we'll think about moving him. There is always that chance that someone in the backcourt goes down, and we don't want to be caught with our ass flopping in the wind. Who knows, we could give him some minutes in insignificant blowouts which could raise his stock enough to garner a trade from a desperate borderline playoff team needing to spread the floor. Heck, we might get a second rounder or the rights to another Erden type player stashed abroad.

  • Karl

    I like Dampier, sure, but Lasme earned the right to be given his shot on the C’s. I don’t know if Von Wafer could ever fit in well with this Celtics team. It takes a special personality to do that, and (though probably not totally his fault) Von doesn’t have it. Lasme fit. He fit well. He worked hard, and I think he could, with a little finger pointing from Doc and Crew, actually BE a LeBraun stopper for short stretches. Certainly his energy and effort would be, much like our Turkish recruit, appreciated, and helpful.

    I hold nothing against Von Wafer, but staying here, while a decent thing for his bank account, would do nothing for his carreer, and nothing for the C’s. Time to take another look, Danny.

  • ball on the floor

    cut wafer sign dampier

  • omar

    i'd keep him cuz who knows whats going to happen with marquis or west guys can get injured at any second god forbid just keep him and extend semih & harngody;s minutes after this month its going t be a really easy strech for the celtics where u can afford to give mins to semih and luke i vote keep him he can shoot if he needs to step in it;ll be a easy fit its still too early for any roster changes

  • Moshe

    how about josh boone?

  • Kevin

    Get Leon Back. It sucks that he's not playing in Cleveland.

  • Bigt942

    Concerning Wafer……he wasn't even able to be part of the offense the past five games. He should have been running around like Ray does but they had him stand on the three point line and never saw the ball.

    As far as Lasme or Gallon being brought up….they are not NBA ready. No one has mentioned Erden who I feel has shown tremendous smarts and toughness. He has seen some decent time on the court and has contributed. Have you seen a better center shooting free throws?

  • MrC

    I don't think it's a good idea to release Wafer. I think, ironically, having Delonte West back would allow Wafer to be more effective than he's been in whatever minutes he does manage to get. IMO, the Robinson/Wafer combo was never going to mesh well because of the types of player that they are and that has made it tough to use both Robinson and Wafer. Now, with Delonte back, I think the Celtics can put together some effective combos on the second unit that include Wafer. If all he needs to do is shoot, and he does that at the level he has shown he is capable of, I think he can be a valuable addition to the team. As Doc has said in the past, you can never have enough shooters.

  • Trashandsend

    Agreed, and not just for big needs; Wafer's a terrible defender, along with being tentative on offense and, to ice the cake, a whiner who took his troubles with West public. None of the above traits are needed, and Doc seems to agree.

    Of the names in play, Lasme's most attractive despite limited size–he has a nose for the ball, especially on the offensive glass, hustles, and plays good hard-nosed D, which could become excellent. Big question at center is whether Perk will be effective once he returns–think of how long it took KG to get into top form after less serious knee surgery. Here's hoping Perk's a fast healer–if so, we've got a shot against the Lakers. If not….

  • zebulon

    There's absolutely no reason to cut Wafer (except possibly attitude issues that we don't know about).

    Reasons to keep him:

    1. Upside. This kid is a legit NBA athlete, can shoot the ball very well, and can create shots for himself. Lasme, Dampier, Gallon, ect – they are not tall (Lasme), athletic (Gallon), or young (Dampier) enough to have any real room for improvement.

    2. Wing Depth: Last season, the C's bench unit played with Paul at the 3 for one quarter to quarter stretch (ie from 3 minutes left in the first to six minutes left in the second) a game, and Ray at the 3 for the other stretch. Ray was effective in this position with the second team, but it contributed to the high number of minutes he would play. Wafer is much more a SG than a SF, but he can actually defend the 3, unlike Delonte or Nate, who will play the majority of the minutes at the backup 2 for the year.

    3. Skillset: Wafer is a shooter first and foremost. On a team that usually has only two three-point threats on the floor at a time (some combination of Pierce/Allen/Nate/West), any other shooters help stretch the floor and keep the defense honest. The best offenses in the league of late rely heavily on threes (Orlando, Phoenix), and having a proven shooter deep on the bench is never a bad thing.

    Wafer will never be a dominant NBA player, but he showed two years ago that he can contribute to a successful team. He isn't playing at that level right now, and probably will never be – but as the 14th man and injury replacement, he's a solid player. He's also the only person on the team besides Quis and Pierce that could play heavy minutes at the three. At the moment, the C's bigs are banged up and hurting. But later in the year the injuries will (probably) spread to other positions, and we can't sacrifice our depth across the board for a few minutes a night of Stephane Lasme at the four.

  • Justin

    How deep are the Celtics this season that there is this much serious discussion over the fate of the THIRD-STRING shooting guard? Or the third-string in general (Avery, Wafer, Gody, Semih)? Personally, I say turn Gody into a small forward and focus on his stroking the ball from deep.

  • MDftw

    LASME

  • chris

    People seem to think we have something in Magnum Rolle.
    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/11/01/red-claws-nab-

    I wouldn't mind giving him a look at the 5th big.

  • ArtW

    Several teams have worked out Dampier and none have signed him. I think you should keep quiet and let Danny do his job, and a fine job he continues to do.

  • MJax

    haha can you imagine Shaq and "Ericka" Dampier on the same team?

  • jfree781

    I was shocked he even made the team after being clearly outplayed by Lasme in preseason. I would be all for bringing that kid back. With his athleticism, I see him being a Serge Ibaka type player. Great at blocking and rebounding, plus he showed he has no problem with powering his way to the hoop.

  • thetruthhurts

    lasme or bring back leon powe!

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