Is Robert Upshaw the answer to Boston's biggest problem?
Robert Upshaw is a seven-foot defensive monster who has the size, length and ability to anchor an NBA defense for the next decade.
He can block and alter shots, and swatted away an NCAA-leading 4.5 per game before he was dismissed by the University of Washington last year (the second school to dismiss him in three seasons).
Upshaw has off-the-court issues, but there's no denying how amazing he can be as a defensive presence, which is exactly what the Celtics sorely need. Here's a look at just how good he was in college, via the Celtics official website:
"Upshaw does a good job of getting into post players’ air space as they attempt to fire up a shot, all while avoiding a high foul rate. However, he needs to bulk up to handle some of the post players around the NBA. He also needs to learn to do his work early on while defending the post. Hopefully that will come with added strength. He has good mobility for a guy his size, but he wasn’t able to display it too often at Washington. The Huskies played a 2-3 zone full-time. Upshaw will need to learn how to defend pick-and-rolls and handle switches onto quicker players. I do think that he can become a terror in pick-and-rolls. His wingspan and size can eat up so much space and take away passing lanes, a la Kevin Garnett."
Comparing anyone to Garnett is tough, but Upshaw has comparable size and a wingspan that will make offenses curdle. He's a perfect fit in Boston and could help turn its franchise around. But first he needs to stay clean away from the court.
Do that, and the Celtics would be on their way to far more than a mere four-game taste of playoff action.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports