In a story first reported on NBA.com by David Aldridge and currently making the Twitter and blog rounds, Paul Pierce may have broken his left foot and could miss "significant time." Now, Aldridge writes "The team does not know for sure if Pierce's foot is broken after X-rays taken Tuesday; more tests are scheduled. But it 'looks that way,' the league source said." So it could just turn out to be a less severe injury and this post could be premature.
But, like an "ambulance chasing" law firm like you see on the TV, whenever an NBA player injures himself we here at RU perk up our ears. It's even more intriguing in this instance because one of Pierce's possible in-house replacements,, just had surgery himself. The also have been actively using the D-League for several years, sending Giddens, and Gabe Pruitt to the Utah Flash last season and Giddens, Walker and to the Maine Red Claws this year. There's also the fact that Maine's coach Austin Ainge is related to the Celtics GM by blood; add all of that up, and the chances that the Celtics could look to their D-League affiliate for help grows.
Let's take a look at the likely candidates (who I would call the likely candidates, anyway; I have no idea who the Red Claws like, and this is the season that sawand call-ups. But these are the best options available):
Reggie Williams - Williams is currently fifth in the league in scoring at 25.7 points a game, while shooting 56.7 percent overall and 40 percent on three-pointers. He's also averaging 5.8 rebounds and three assists per game, which are decent numbers. Williams also has been carrying the Skyforce offensively for the last two months, and while he likely won't be asked to do so in Boston, it can't hurt, and who knows, maybe he could work his way into a start or two like Anthony Tolliver did. He's also been improving his defense this season.
Mike Harris - Harris doesn't have the outside shot that Williams does, and so I don't think he'd be quite as good a fit, but if you put him on the floor with Eddie House it's not like he's going to get a lot of shots anyway. He's more of an undersized power forward, but Harris is a terrific scorer (fourth in the league), is a very good rebounder, and is athletic enough to play the 3. He also got a call-up earlier this season with the Rockets, doesn't turn the ball over much, and was just named the D-League's player of the month.
Carlos Powell - Powell is an excellent small forward who can score, rebounds slightly less than Harris but is the best passer of the three of these guys. Powell hasn't had the greatest outside shooting year, but he's hit 36 percent of his threes for his career, so the ability is there. He also plays solid defense, and while he hasn't been called up yet this year, he played with the Phoenix Suns during the preseason and basically impressed the hell out of them. Powell would be able to step in immediately and do whatever the Celtic needed him to do.
Cartier Martin - Fresh off of not one but two 10-day contracts with the Warriors, Martin would be a solid fit for the C's. He spent the beginning of the year in Europe before coming back to the D-League, and also got a call-up with the Charlotte Bobcats last season. He's versatile (he's shooting 39 percent from outside and averaging more than five rebounds a game), and he has decent size. If Boston wanted a "proven" D-Leaguer, Martin could be their guy.
Trey Gilder - Gilder is really the only Maine Red Claw who might fit what the Celtics need. He's a tweener forward, and made the Grizzlies' roster out of training camp but was cut so the team wouldn't have to guarantee his salary. Gilder's athletic and rebounds very well; the downside is that while he's shooting 40 percent from outside, that's probably due more to a small sample size (he's averaging half an attempt per game). This would be a call-up to reward the affiliate, but still a decent call-up.
Romel Beck - Moving onto the pure scorer portion of this list, Beck has been something of an isolation guy in the past, but he's had to initiate the offense at times this season and he's done pretty well. He doesn't rebound as much as he probably could being 6'8"-ish, but he's very good outside shooter plus he has Tayshaun Prince-like arms!
Morris Almond - Almond is more of a shooting guard than a small forward, but he's an extremely efficient scorer who gets to the free-throw line with regularity. He probably won't have that luxury in the NBA, but he's a former NBA player himself (with the Utah Jazz) so he knows what it takes to contribute in that league. He's also a pretty good rebounder for his position.
Othyus Jeffers - Jeffers is the shortest of the players on this list, but also probably plays the biggest. He's also the best defender of the group and maybe the most versatile (he's been playing power forward since coming back to Iowa but also can play shooting guard). Jeffers can defend multiple positions and is an excellent rebounder. He was close to getting a call-up with the Warriors last season, so he's definitely on NBA radars. To conclude, I'll quote Scott's profile of Jeffers from last May:
Off the dribble, he's exceptional, as no one can defend his first step and he's able to finish at the rim - he's very deliberate. Shooting though, is ocassionally a bit of a problem. It's not that he has a bad shot, it looks pretty, but it doesn't fall as much as you'd think it should when watching it leave his hands. He's been a power forward much of his career though, so I'm assuming his jump shot will improve with more time spent, as it seems the mechanics are there.