This is the 11th in a series of profiles for all 15 players on the current Celtics roster. We’ll profile at least one player each day leading up to the season opener on Tuesday.
Leon Powe took the ball to the rim against LA’s Ronny Turiaf in the Finals. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
Born: Jan. 22, 1984
Height: 6 feet 8 inches. Weight: 240
Years pro: 2
Acquired: Drafted No. 49 overall by Denver in 2006 (rights traded to Celtics)
2008/2009 salary: $797,581
Signed through: 2008-2009
Last year’s numbers: 7.9 ppg, 0.3 apg, 4.1 rpg in 14.4 minutes
Strengths: Powe is a monster on the glass, a guy who uses his strength and athleticism to clear space under the rim. But he can also score the ball a little. Remember thata 21-point outburst in Game 2 of the NBA Finals? To some it might have come out of nowhere, but Powe could score the ball a little at Cal, and if you’re going to leave him wide open for an entire game he has no problem burning you. He’s been a lot more aggressive on offense this preseason, adding a turnaround jumper to his arsenal.
Weaknesses: Powe needs to prove that he can consistently make that mid-range jump shot. He’s undersized, so while his post moves are very good, he’ll be less effective if opposing defenses force him inside against bigger players. If he can step out and give opponents a change of pace, he could be very dangerous. Size is also an issue if the Celtics want to play Powe (or Glen Davis) at center. While it works against most teams, it’s unfair to ask Leon to guard Dwight Howard or Yao.
What to expect: The only reason the Celtics got Powe so late in the draft is because teams were scared off by previous knee injuries. If he’s healthy, Powe should be a very good player in this league. He’s going to get a lot better this season, and it can’t happen to a nicer guy. He’s a hard-working, respectful young man who has earned the trust of his teammates. He should be the first big man off the bench for Boston, and he could play long stretches against teams that don’t have a dominant center (there are lots of them now).
Check back tomorrow for another player profile, and give us your expectations for Powe in our comments section.