Robert Williams and Daniel Theis

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Brad Stevens feels each Celtics big man brings ‘unique versatility,’ expects to ‘lean on all of them’

Nick Friar
August 09, 2019 - 2:14 pm

When it became clear Kyrie Irving was leaving Boston for Brooklyn, Al Horford’s presence on the roster didn’t seem necessary. The Celtics weren’t about to contend for a title and going younger made more sense.

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Then Danny Ainge courted Kemba Walker and Horford departing for Philadelphia turned into a bigger loss than Irving.

To help replace Horford, the Celtics brought back Daniel Theis and signed both Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier to patrol the paint with Robert Williams. C’s fans are already familiar with Theis’ game and have seen Robert Williams’ potential. Kanter is a force on the glass and scores primarily down low — though he’s also trying to help stretch the floor for the first time in his career. And it’s no secret he has trouble defending the pick-and-roll.

Poirier, however, is a relative unknown, having played overseas throughout his pro career, outside of his two opportunities in NBA Summer League. He’s expected to make an impact on the defensive end and is supposedly athletic, despite being close to seven feet tall.

Brad Stevens has gotten a good look at Poirier and provided a little more insight on the French import on NBC Sports Boston’s “Celtics Talk Podcast.”

“Good athlete. Plays way above the rim on his rolls,” he said.

Each Celtics big man provides something different, though none of the five have shown they can replicate what Horford did. There’s no reason to believe they will in 2019-20 either. But Stevens doesn’t seem to view that as a negative, since none of these four play the same game.

“That center position for us is going to be — each of those guys brings a unique versatility to us,” Stevens said. “And we’re going to lean on all of them.

"So that will be a fun group because it’s not like maybe we’ve had in the past where you have a guy like Horford, who you play through at the 3-point line so much. And you’ve got to play through other guys in different ways.”