As an NBA watcher and long time Celtics fan the Celtics thus far this season has been a dud. The team looks uninterested and only sometimes plays hard. I would gladly return to the early Brad Stevens days when they were often outmanned but always played hard. Let’s look at some of the things that have gone wrong.
Let’s begin with the coach. As a new coach I understand that Udoka would use veterans before young players. This is what a coach tries to do when he starts out. However ask yourself are they going to win a title with J. Rich, Schroeder and Horford getting a lot of minutes. Boston has Langford, Pritchard and Nesmith getting little time. I think it’s time to find out what they have. Udoka needs to give each of them a long leash. This means they play through their mistakes and aren’t looking over the shoulder whenever they make a mistake. The trio may bring a hunger and ability to play hard things Boston needs. I don’t know if Udoka realizes his subbing pattern is the similar every night. The results aren’t good, I hope he realizes this and begins to use different players in different combinations.
Let’s discuss Marcus Smart next. For years I’ve been a big supporter of Smart but now may be the time to trade him. Smart plays hard but not intelligently. His poor shooting has hurt Boston through the years. It also gets tiring how he points the finger at teammates whenever things go wrong.
Rob Williams is an effective big man defensively and on the boards. If he is to take the next step he needs to become a decent shooter from inside fifteen feet and develop a post game. It also would be a plus if he could avoid being injured.
Dennis Schroeder is another problem. Remember he will only be here this year because Boston doesn’t have Bird rights. They can only offer him up to about ten million and he should get more on the open market. His turnovers and over dribbling do not help make an offense go. He also is a defensive liability.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are an interesting combo. Due to Brown’s injuries it is hard to gauge if they can play together successfully. Most teams would be happy to have two stars like them on their team. If Boston were to trade one it would probably be Brown but it’s not time for that yet.
The Possible Solutions
Boston’s offense needs ball movement not ball stoppers like Schroeder and Tatum. I would think about trying to get a pass first point guard that could run the offense without looking for his shot. Players like Ish Smith, Facundo Campazzo or dare I say an older Rajon Rondo. These players though not able to play big minutes would help to change the teams mentality and necessitate ball movement.When a team plays a half against Phoenix and only has five assists it is clear the ball isn’t moving.
If the Celtics were to go into the trading market Domantas Sabonis is a player that could help. A package with Smart and Rob Williams may bring him with someone else. I don’t think Boston needs a major shakeup but they do need change as this team as presently constructed will be on the NBA treadmill as a consistent seventh to tenth seed. There is nothing worse than a team stuck in that position.
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