Thursday, June 13 2024

Xavier Tillman trade: What Celtics fans need to know about new addition originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics have made a move ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

They are acquiring forward Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Lamar Stevens, a 2027 second-round pick (via Atlanta) and a 2030 second-round (via Dallas), per multiple reports.

Tillman gives the Celtics more frontcourt depth for a low cost. His scoring production has dropped off this season, but defensively he still ranks very high in many different metrics (more on that below).

The Celtics could still make another move ahead of the deadline. Another guard or a wing with size would be a nice pickup.

Here’s what Celtics fans need to know about Tillman.

Age

25

Position

Forward

Height/Weight

6-foot-7, 245 pounds

2023-24 Stats

Tillman is averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He’s shooting 40.8 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from the free throw line and 22.6 percent from 3-point range. Tillman averaged 20.6 minutes in 38 games played (13 starts) for the Grizzlies this season.

Contract

Tillman is on a $1.9 million expiring contract. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Celtics “will inherit his bird rights and can sign him in the offseason despite their financial limitations.”

How will he help the Celtics?

Tillman won’t be expected to provide much offense. He’s a bad free throw shooter and doesn’t take (or make) many 3-points shots. In fairness, some of his lackluster offensive numbers can be attributed to the lack of high-end talent around him on an injury-depleted Grizzlies roster this season.

His real value comes on the defensive end of the court, where he brings much-needed physicality and versatility.

Tillman is a very good defender. He can guard multiple positions, including big men. He’s quick enough to stay in front of perimeter players and strong enough to prevent bigger players from getting deep low-post position. He can be used at center in small-ball lineups.

Tillman played a key role for the Grizzlies in the playoffs last season. He averaged 8.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the Grizzlies’ six-game first-round series versus the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 30.5 minutes per game in the series.

Tillman won’t play that much for the Celtics in the 2024 playoffs, but the fact that he is usable in important postseason minutes is valuable. Every championship-winning team has plenty of games during their playoff run in which bench players need to step up and contribute. Tillman’s size and strength could prove useful guarding players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, etc. in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

What they’re saying…

Here’s some social media reaction to Tillman coming to Boston.

Highlights

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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