The Boston Celtics have not added another established center since Daniel Theis traded to the Indiana Pacers for Malcolm Brogdon. That means they will go into the season as the only centers on the roster with Al Horford, Robert Williams III and Luke Kornet, although Grant Williams has played small-ball centers in the past.
With Horford and Williams III slated to start, Kornet is likely to be the first center off the bench, which has Celtics fans worried because Kornet doesn’t have the same pedigree as previous backup greats like Theis or Aron Baynes. An Eastern Conference coach recently spoke to Heavy’s Sean Deveney to caution that Kornet has never featured prominently throughout his NBA career.
“I don’t think he would be the first choice, but for him it’s all about the role,” said the coach. “He was never really anywhere where he had a defined role from the start. You can tell him to block shots and open 3s for 12 minutes per game.
The longest Kornet has played for a team was with the New York Knicks, who signed him as an undrafted free agent from 2017-2019. The most Kornet played was 17 minutes per game during his New York sophomore year. The coach also spoke about why Kornet might not fit the Celtics’ defensive scheme.
“Defensively he is slow, he will want to pack the color. It’s not really her game. They want to change,” said the coach.
In the end, the coach believes that it will be up to head coach Ime Udoka alone to decide whether Kornet is her man in the substitute spot in the middle.
“So Ime will say, ‘Luke is our type. We have to adjust while he’s on the ground?’ Or will he say, ‘Luke can’t play my way, he can’t be my center, let’s get someone else.'”
If Udoka goes the latter route, the situation would be easier because, according to Spotrac, Kornet’s contract is only partially guaranteed until January 10, 2023 for $1,066,639.
Brad Stevens believes in cornets
During the Celtics’ induction press conference for Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations, said the Celtics are “really high” on cornet, even though they plan to add another center.
Stevens again showed his confidence in Kornet when he liked a Twitter video of Kornet doing a reverse dunk during a pickup basketball game.
Stevens coached Kornet in his senior year as Celtics head coach and brought him back after the Celtics opened up several roster spots at the close. Since Kornet’s re-signing he’s added bigs – Mfiondu Kabengele and Noah Vonleh – but not exactly proven ones. When he said they were high on Kornet, all indications are that he meant business.
Kornets NBA career
As previously mentioned, Kornet started his career with the Knicks and played there from 2017 to 2019. Kornet then signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bulls.
Kornet was then traded to the Celtics along with Moe Wagner at the 2021 close in a three-way deal that sent Theis to the Bulls. In the 18 games he played with the Celtics in the 2020-21 season, he averaged 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.
After brief stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2021-22 season, Kornet then returned to the Celtics, signing a two-year contract with them this summer.
More heavy on Celtics News
More stories are loading