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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Help Us Jarvis Varnado, You're Our Only Hope

With Chris Wilcox (thumb) being out for possibly up to a month of action, the Celtics had to make a move to bolster their thin frontcourt. Tonight, they have agreed to sign NBA D-League forward Jarvis Varnado of the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Before you laugh, I can assure you that Varnado is actually a pretty good player. He was the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker at Mississippi State that was drafted by Miami in 2010 (2nd round, 11th pick). Of course, there has to be a reason that he was in the D-League. Unless you are a superhuman athlete-Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard, etc-it's hard to make much of an impact in the NBA when your primary skill is blocking shots.

At Sioux Falls this season, the 6-foot-9 Varnado was averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3.9 blocks in 10 games. The interesting part about this move is that Celtics rookie center Fab Melo just put up a triple-double on Saturday night with the Maine Red Claws (15 points, 16 rebounds and a D-League record 14 blocks). Apparently, the Celtics don't want to rush Melo who is still extremely raw.

At 24-years-old and with a couple professional seasons (he played in Italy and Israel) under his belt, Varnado is the safer bet for the time being. There is no need to put too much pressure on Melo just yet. If you're looking for a good sign with Varnado, Greg Stiemsma played for Sioux Falls and then made the Celtics out of training camp last season. He parlayed that into a decent rookie season and earned a deal with the Timberwolves.

Nobody is expecting Varnado to be the presence that Stiemsma was from day one but I will say that his resume is more impressive than Greg's so he definitely has the ability. At this point, the Celts could use any type of energy they can get. Avery Bradley has said he thinks he'll make his season debut on January 2 but I read something today that Doc Rivers admitted Bradly could play on Christmas in Brooklyn. We shall see.

Because I'm a college hoops junkie, here's a little Christmas treat for you:

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