Just a few weeks away from NBA All-Star weekend in Atlanta and the halfway mark in the season, the Boston Celtics haven’t found the recipe to success.
Just in the last week, General Manager Danny Ainge has publicly commented on the current state of his team. He’s taken the blame for the team not being able to compete, and above all, he’s stated that his team can’t win a finals with how it’s built.
The Problem Every Year
Everyone always puts expectations on the Celtics to be a great team every season. It makes sense because of all the accolades that team has achieved since the days of Bill Russell. But the Celtics haven’t had a great team since the big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Don’t get that confused with great players. They have had many great players since the big three. Just to name a few: Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. Now, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are starting to look good too.
The difference is they haven’t been able to acquire a superstar. Being in a big market and a well-known sports town, many would think Boston would be a top landing spot for top free agents. One problem is super stars aren’t easy to come by.
Don’t get an all-star mixed up with a super star. Players like Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Al Horford are all-stars. Super stars are the Kevin Durant’s, LeBron James’, Anthony Davis’ and Kawhi Leonard’s of the world.
That is the reason Boston hasn’t been able to crack the code of getting to an NBA Finals. They’ve came close, but because they never had a super star to battle LeBron James, Dwayne Wade (before he retired) or even Giannis Antetokounmpo for that matter.
The Problem Now
The Celtics are finding themselves in a familiar predicament. The trade deadline is coming up in March, and the one player Boston has expressed interest in is Cavs center Andre Drummond.
Drummond won’t be the solution to the larger problem at hand, but he would be a fix to a small issue the Celtics are finding themselves in this season. That issue is a lack of size. That problem leads to many other things, including less rebounding and blocks. A non-statistical category is a physical presence in the paint.
The Celtics rank horribly in those statistical categories mentioned. They’re ranked 21 (out of 30 teams) in blocks per game, 16 in opponent field goal percentage, 14 in defensive efficiency rating and 15 in rebounds per game.
Andre Drummond would have an immediate impact on Boston, but his acquisition, if it did happen, wouldn’t make Boston a contending team.
To the Future
Looking to the future, Danny Ainge should make it a priority to land a super star. With that, everyone on the roster should be available. Ainge has proved that he can build a roster full of great role players. Celtics fans shouldn’t doubt the abilities of their GM.
In the meantime, the Celtics will need to get things figured out. They could be given a little bit of some leeway because their roster hasn’t been consistently healthy since the season started. All key players in their rotation have been ruled out at some point in the season due to injury.
With that, Brad Stevens has had to use over five different combinations of starters this season. With all the changing in rotation, it could be hard for guys to feel comfortable in their role because it’s changing so often.
Coming into the all-star break, it’ll be important for the Celtics players to get much needed rest.
To recap, the Boston Celtics have more issues than meets the eye. These are the simple answers to fix their problems so that the franchise can get back to an NBA Finals.
Short term, they need to get healthy and have a focus on signing solid players to their front court. Long term, they need to lure a super star to play for the team. If these things are done, the odds of the Celtics returning to league dominance are high.
All stats are taken from basketballreference.com and teamrankings.com.
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