ESPN personality isn’t a big fan of the Boston Celtics’ offseason moves.
While the Eastern Conference landscape has been rocked by a series of trades in the last few days, ESPN and sports talk personality Shannon Sharpe took the onus to ridicule the Boston Celtics for entering a season in which they’ll have to rely on an injury-prone Kristaps Porzingis so heavily.
In addition to making fun of Porzingis’ lanky frame, Sharpe implied that the former No. 4 pick might not be a match in physicality to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid – two players that the Celtics and KP will likely meet in the playoffs.
"“That man so skinny he can look through a keyhole with both eyes,” Sharpe said on ‘Club Shay Shay.’"
Shannon Sharpe isn’t a fan of Boston Celtics trading Robert Williams
Sharpe argued that Robert Williams III would have been a better paint defender than the Latvian and that the Celtics have given up too much size this summer, especially in light of the recent acquisition of Jrue Holiday, which has led Sharpe to feel that teams like the Bucks may find it easy to dominate the Celtics in the playoffs.
"“The problem that you have is that you cannot build a wall to keep Giannis out of the lane now because (Milwaukee Bucks) have Dame,” Sharpe said on his podcast."
The three-time Super Bowl champion correctly noted that while Boston’s starting lineup appears to be superior on paper thanks to the addition of Holiday as an immediate upgrade; a point guard capable of guarding multiple positions, the Celtics have taken a significant risk by adopting a small-ball strategy for the 2023–24 season.
Additionally, if Porzingis suffers an injury next season, the team will have no choice but to focus on more inexperienced, young, and unreliable options in Wenyen Gabriel, Luke Kornet, or Neemias Queta.
Kristaps Porzingis is an elite drop defender
Boston’s coach Joe Mazzulla likes his center to guard the rim, without having to run around the court to switch on multiple scorers; typically, he has been successful when using his center as a ‘drop defender,’ who plays some steps behind the action. In a similar position and role for the Washington Wizards in the 2022-23 season, Porzingis flourished, averaging 1.5 blocks per game.
Though the 7-foot-3 center isn’t the quickest big man, his stature and wingspan will come in helpful to dissuade and alter all shots around the rim especially considering how Mazzulla would want the likes of Holiday switching from one to five positions around the perimeter.
There has always been a theory that the only reason Porzingis excelled in Washington and not in Dallas or New York is because he had no pressure to lead the team into the playoffs.
That being said, it will be intriguing to see if the 28-year-old can finally endure the pressure to play a crucial role on a championship-contending team now that Celtics fans are right behind him.