The Boston Celtics came into this season knowing they were an extremely deep team but head coach Brad Stevens had a lot of decisions to make about who would play and how many minutes. Stevens has still not fully figured that yet out as only two players (Avery Bradley & Jae Crowder) have started all five of their games so far and that is part of the reason for their 2-3 start. One player who seemingly had no chance for playing time coming into the season was Jonas Jerebko but he has earned some time with his versatility on defense, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.
Jerebko is a 6 foot-10 power forward from Sweden who has been in the NBA since 2009 but had really fallen off the radar the past few years. After being traded to Boston last season Jerebko re-emerged and Stevens considered putting him in the starting lineup around playoff time because of all of the things he can do. Jerebko re-signed this offseason for two years and $10 million but after the Celtics also brought in David Lee and Amir Johnson it seemed like Jerebko was destined to ride the bench.
So far this season Jerebko has appeared in all five games for the Celtics and although he is only averaging 14.4 minutes per game Stevens loves playing him because he is a sparkplug and can guard almost anyone. Jerebko has passed Tyler Zeller on the depth chart and has outplayed Lee so far this season so Stevens continues to play him.
"That's why players like Jerebko are so valuable. If you've got guys that can guard multiple positions, especially that can swing from the perimeter to the bigs, and vice versa, it's huge. Especially the way the game is being played with so many skilled 4s and so many shooting bigs," said Stevens.
Jerebko has guarded every position so far this season from point guards like John Wall to centers like Nerlens Noel and although his defensive metrics don't really jump out at you, that kind of versatility is extremely hard to find. Jerebko also is no slouch on offense either as he can stretch the floor, as shown by his 34 percent three point shooting for his career, and he has averaged 13.1 points per 36 minutes in his five plus NBA seasons.
Jerebko won't do anything that will make him stand out in the box score on most nights but it's his hustle and ability to do so many different things that Stevens has noticed and tried to utilize. He still isn't getting that much playing time but in a frontcourt as crowded as the Celtics' it is an impressive feat that he has even earned minutes at all.