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Celtics favored Blake Griffin signing over Carmelo Anthony due to defense, Rob Williams’ early season absence — report

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The Boston Celtics had significant considerations on why they chose to land Blake Griffin over Carmelo Anthony.

In a conversation with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto revealed that the Cs leaned on signing Griffin as they are prioritizing defense. The early season absence of Rob Williams III also played a huge factor in picking the veteran.

“I think the absence of Robert Williams affected the way they went about replacing Danilo Gallinari. There were some rumblings out there about Carmelo Anthony before Blake Griffin. One of the reasons the Boston Celtics targeted Griffin was the team prioritized defense. Griffin was one of the league leaders at drawing charges. With Williams being out to start the season, Griffin can play the five. Offensively, Griffin can help with DHOs (dribble handoffs). Melo would’ve been a fine stretch four and could’ve replaced that role similar to Gallinari, but that wasn’t the focus after the surgery for Williams, I’m told.”

There has been a debate recently on which one the Cs will choose after the devastating injury updates of their core pieces late in the offseason. With wingman Danillo Gallinari out indefinitely due to an ACL tear, the rumblings around Carmelo Anthony had its noise. But eventually, the ball club went on to ink Griffin on a guaranteed one-year deal over $2MM in value.

As what Scotto has provided, Griffin will provide a serviceable defensive upgrade due to his ability to absorb charges. The former All-star compiled a league-high 26 charges drawn last season despite only playing less than 1000 minutes. This showing he performs will be a tremendous component on Boston’s suffocating defense next season.

And given that Williams III will be sidelined due to his second knee surgery recovery, a big body will be very much needed to patch up the void of his absence. Griffin’s muscular frame and ability to hold himself against imposing bigs are good enough to temporarily replace what will be lost on the center’s unavailability.

Griffin stands as a good signing whatever the Cs intend to address upon their shorthanded presence in the paint. The former No. 1 pick will also get his chance to potentially win that elusive ring – with the franchise already composed to compete and embark on another deep postseason run.

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