It’s possible you haven’t noticed this because 1) he is long and athletic and 2) you’re probably not in the habit of paying attention to fringe ex-Cavalier projects unless they’re named Jiri Welsch.
Some amusing highlights from John Hollinger’s scouting report:
One of the world’s greatest mysteries is how Hollins can suck so badly at rebounding. He is 7 feet tall, 240 pounds and can jump out of the gym. It seems inconceivable that he would be a below-average rebounder, much less this shockingly below average. Yet last year he was outrebounded by every frontcourt player in the league except for Andrea Bargnani and Brian Cardinal.
He committed a foul every 5.94 minutes, one of the league’s highest rates, and struggled to battle big centers both in the post and on the glass.
Offensively, he has no skills except a knack for making short runners…
Loses Cool Easily.
To be fair, it’s worth pointing out that amongst the comical deconstructions of his game, Hollinger does note that Hollins is an able pick-and-roll defender. The Celtics, picking from the detritus unclaimed by contending teams, are probably just hoping he can do the minimum: clog up the lane on defense and rotate well enough in short minutes to avoid defensive breakdowns. His Synergy defensive numbers are largely inconclusive this season because he hasn’t been used enough to make it beyond small samples.
The interesting thing about Hollins is that his ability to run the floor and finish should get him legitimate scoring opportunities if he gets any run with the Celtics’ best five players. He’s almost perfectly suited to having his value artificially enhanced playing with Rajon Rondo.
This is obviously true in transition where all he really has to do is run, catch and stuff but it may also be true in the halfcourt. As Avery Bradley has proven over the last couple of months, playing with the Big Four will give you lanes and seams and shots to make plays and Hollins could benefit from the same kind of openings (conservatively speaking, Bradley’s potential is about a hundred times that of Hollins, but it’s the same principle).
It’s likely that Hollins will be cast adrift by the Celtics after this season; his rebounding is too awful to tolerate over the long term. But if he doesn’t have to regularly guard guys on the low block, he has the potential to hold his own in the Celtics’ whole-is-greater defensive system. And just maybe, as he’s streaking up the middle of the floor, he gives us another glimpse of what a Rondo-centered offense would look like with the appropriate athletic parts.