Vitor Faverani has come up big for the Celtics so far this season. Credit: Getty Images
He goes by “El Hombre Indestructible,” and Celtics rookie Vitor Faverani may actually be living up the name.
You had never heard of Faverani until some time after July of 2013 – unless, of course, you were a big Valencia Basket of Spain fan.
But there were enough people in the Celtics organization who wanted the 25-year-old Brazilian center – and they moved fast to sign him to a three-year contract before another NBA team could swoop in.
The move appears to be paying off.
Faverani has appeared in all 15 games for the Celtics, starting 10 of them. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. He can also drain 3-pointers on occasion.
But like most rookies, Faverani has to deal with some inconsistent minutes and inconsistent play.
"I have good games and I play minutes, and some games I don't play minutes,” Faverani told Metro Boston. “It's the NBA,it's not easy. I just need to improve more and work hard every day."
He’s had an 18-rebound game, a 12-rebound game, and a four-block game already in his young career.
On Saturday night in Atlanta, a 94-87 Celtics comeback win, Faverani played some big minutes in the fourth quarter, scoring four points and grabbing two boards in the final frame. He led the C’s bench in plus/minus at plus-10 that game as well.
One thing is certain: He belongs in the NBA. He feels he has proven that already.
"Yes, I prove it all days in practice,” Faverani said. “All days for a long time. Yes, I think I've proved it. I need more every day, but I'm better every day."
It’s also early in the season. That’s good because it means Faverani can improve with experience. But the wear and tear of the 82-game season only gets tougher as the months roll by.
"The [biggest] difference is more games,” Faverani said when asked to compare the Spanish league with the NBA. “There we play like two games in a week. Here we can play like four or five games back-to-back. That's the difference, the physical difference."
Faverani said he feels it in his legs the most, but credits the C’s personal trainers for keeping him healthy. He needs those legs too – because the style of play in the NBA keeps him on the move.
"It's very fast game here,” Faverani said. “There we have 24 seconds and we use 24 seconds. Here it's more running fast breaks, people jump a lot, it's different.”
And there’s certainly no time to stargaze out on the court.
"It's one more game,” Faverani said. “It's normal, like Tim Duncan … very great player here, like a star, but on the court everybody is the same and fighting."