When the Boston Celtics signed Vitor Faverani this summer, fans raced to their computer to see what they could dig up on the big Brazilian. Many brushed it off as a signing of a bench warmer or a project. His three-year guaranteed contract raised some eye-brows and caused some people to look a little harder at the 25 year old big man.
Now, on October 16, 2013 Faverani is beginning to stake his claim to some big minutes once the season starts. In fact, he has impressed Celtics 101 enough to think that he could be the starting center for the Boston Celtics on opening night.
There are a few reasons for this. Let us explain.
Firstly, Faverani has proven that he is capable of scoring in multiple ways. He is shooting from all over the floor at a rather consistent clip, 48%. He is a threat to shoot three-pointers while also getting into the paint and scoring with both his left and right hand. When awarded substantial minutes this preseason, Faverani has scored enough points to earn the starting role. Against the Raptors on Wednesday night he scored 13 points in 21 minutes. He's averaging 6.6 points in 14 minutes played per game. He has the potential to score between 10 and 12 points for this team.
Faverani is also rebounding better than people expected. He's pulling down 4.4 per game, and if given 20-30 minutes a game he could get close to 9 rebounds. Faverani's rebounding is directly connected with his energy. Faverani is active on defense, moving constantly, helping teammates, and pushing bigger men out of the paint. His activity is important, because currently it does not seem like anyone wants to protect the rim on this team and it is lacking a vocal anchor who is willing to be a leader.
Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries are the two other competitors for this starting job (assuming Jared Sullinger settles in at the power forward spot). One thing that will be important for Brad Stevens is ensuring that Olynyk does not hit the rookie wall too quickly. Starting him and giving him big minutes, especially following his plantar fasciitis issues this summer, could shorten Olynyk's season drastically. Olynyk has been solid this preseason too, there is no arguing that. But Stevens wants to be sure he remains healthy and does not lose time in the future due to heavy minutes his rookie year.
Kris Humphries could be another problem entirely. His veteran status and high salary probably means he should be starting. Considering that the Celtics could be looking to trade Humphries, sticking him on the bench is probably a risky move. Humphries, however, could be a valuable asset off the bench. Teams looking to take him and his expiring contract could be looking for a rebounder off the bench. Showing off Humphries as a second unit player might prove beneficial if they want to trade him.
While Faverani is new to the NBA, he has been playing professional basketball for quite some time. He left Brazil for Spain when he was 17 and has been playing basketball ever since. At 25 years old, he might be new to the NBA, but he is not new to professional competition or what it takes to sustain a level of play over an entire season.
Faverani and Sullinger as starters and Humphries and Olynyk in that second unit could be interesting. Olynyk and Sullinger have worked well together this preseason, and hopefully Stevens will find ways to create that partnership during games.
However, given Faverani's veteran experience, his offensive versatility, his size, and his emerging defensive presence, Brad Stevens should be sure to give Vitor Faverani plenty of time on the court. Starting with the beginning of every game as a starter.
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