Where the Celtics stand at the All Star break

 Brian Babineau

Brian Babineau

With All-Star weekend staring us directly in the face & “Black Panther” standing over its shoulder ominously, both the conference leaders have seemingly come back to [flat] earth after starting the season gangbusters.

Exacerbated by said phenomenon, hot takes Twitter is always the place to be. Bad games leading to the All star break has caused the casual NBA fan to forget that both teams have exhibited they can win in a plethora of ways & regardless, there’s an air of confidence that comes with trusting the process once successful.

On that same token, anyone in either organization that’s planning parties alone likely won’t be employed long. This presents ample opportunity for both to kickstart marching to June.

Golden State stood pat at the trade deadline, pointing to the trophy case. Brad Stevens’ C’s are trying to get there. Having shown the league what he’s capable of time & time again, any basketball savant out there is salivating at what the Celtics will look like post ASB. Since there’s no time like the present:

There’s always growing pains. Anyone who says no is either hating or high. Remember, Boston finished the #1 seed last season, yet the entire core of the roster was torn apart.

Three holdovers.

One starter.

Ironically, he is the most-heavily debated All-Star. Ha.

In reality, it’s absurd to hear people rip Boston.

What Ainge has done lately has an unrelenting Kobe fan obsessing over what’s to come in the city he once despised.

But that speaks volumes about just how excited you should be about what’s going on. Yes, you. The basketball fans.

If you’re of the ilk of basketball fans that’s passionate about this beautiful art form & want to see it prosper, the Boston Celtics should be a team you push on social media & watch every time

While the rest of the world is trying to find its way into this perceived “big three era,” Boston is playing for keeps & the future. Do we even need discuss the absolute coup that began as speculation that they’d pair IT & Fultz, the old buddies from the same university in their backcourt as they chased a ring?

The C’s were supposed to add a talented rookie, maybe a free agent or two & step up the ladder to challenge the LeBron’s for a chance at the NBA Finals. Instead, the team retooled & outperformed even their own expectations.

With three players back from last year’s team, should we really be slandering Boston to extol Toronto? The team that did just that. Add a rook or two. Make a few minor moves. Yet, it literally took them until the last day before the break to catch Boston.

Being able to pair Kyrie & Gordon Hayward, both established All-Stars with proven track records that hadn’t experienced what they’d hoped to this point in their career seemed almost too good to be true. It turned out to be when Hayward went down in game 1 but setbacks can be setups for great comebacks.

Each of the players on the Boston roster not named Irving immediately shifted up a spot in terms of required production, consistency & accountability. All the while knowing, no matter what happens, Gordon Hayward is coming back. Will be a starter. Will be a key component. As he should be.

But I also think it’s been revealed that Tatum was likely drafted ahead of Brown in terms of capacity to impact a game at the NBA level. As long as Ainge doesn’t separate the two, they should have brilliant careers together. Pushing each other. Holding each other accountable. Growing up. Exactly what they’ve done this season.

The same goes for Marcus Morris. Semi Ojeleye. Aron Baynes ample opportunity to show what they can do for a team that needs everyone. What changes could the Celtics make to have a better second half than their first?

Here’s some ideas:

  • Embrace the Moose

    Listen, Greg Monroe is a gifted offensive player & has the tools to make a dynamic offense even better. Brad has made a career of maximizing talents & getting the most out of guys. Monroe? While he may not make the savviest basketball business decisions, he was the only Piston not named Grant Hill to post three consecutive 1000 point, 600 rebound seasons. His addition also allows for...
     
  • Big Green Al Horford

    Al had done Yeoman’s work masquerading as a five man ever since he left the comfort of playing beside Joakim Noah at Florida. But one thing about it, two things fa sho, Al is not one. That is a rich, poor & middle-class man’s power forward & a highly skilled one. That fifth starting spot has been a bit of enigma during Stephens’ tenure. Not anymore especially considering you have...
     
  • Too Many Guards

    Kyrie. Brown. Hayward. Tatum. Rozier. Smart. Larkin. Not enough clock for everyone to be utilized to their full potential. Ideally? Smart & Larkin move on.Brown becomes the Swiss Army knife off the bench next season because Brad needs to...
     
  • Unleash the Beast

Jayson Tatum deserves his recognition as the best rookie in the draft. Donovan Mitchell is the rookie of the year & probably has improved more than any player has ever, in-season but Tatum hit the ground running. Has started every game. & shouldn’t be slighted because he plays for the better team. Which will only remain the case if his teammates can...

  • Reconnect

    Said it a million times, here’s a million & one

Defense is IQ, scheming, & effort. Teams that are connected, want to play for each other & cover up their mistakes play the best defense.