From a title contender to a team that is under .500 in win percentage, what is happening to the Boston Celtics?


James Porter-Delgardo, Sports

Last year in the NBA, the Boston Celtics were able to reach the Eastern Conference finals in the playoffs where they met the Miami Heat. In the ECF they lost 4-2 in the seven-game series but the Celtics made a statement by getting to the ECF, they showed that this team is the real deal and can reach greater heights in the next few years with their two young studs, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the helm.

Boston also showed their depth in the team, a lot of their young talent performed and that’s why they were able to make a deep run in the playoffs. This year, the Celtics are 16-17 and have lost 3 of their last 4. One would think that with the duo of Brown and Tatum on the team, this team should be an easy deep playoff run. Although that’s not the case. With the loss of a key player last season in Gordon Hayward, the Celtics have failed to replace a shooting guard that brings as much depth to the team as he did. The Celtics drafted shooting guard Aaron Nesmith out of Vanderbilt, but he hasn’t been able to get a valuable amount of minutes that would help this team win.

Also, Marcus Smart, one of their shooting guards, has been out due to injury, he set the tone on defense and brought out the physicality within the team. This is something that the Celtics are lacking.

One must then think, is there is a problem with management. Danny Ainge hasn’t made a successful big move since 2012 when he traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets for high draft picks, Ainge has failed to make a substantial trade that benefits this team ever since. There is also a big problem with coaching. If Brad Stevens, the coach of the Celtics has two superstars in the locker room, and can’t speak words into them that will them to win games, that is a humongous problem.

Another problem the Celtics face is their lack of depth in the team. When Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown check out of the game they have no one to fill those roles. How can a team only rely on three players to win a game?

Also, disregarding the fact that Kemba Walker had a great game against the pacers yesterday, Kemba Walker has been underperforming extremely this season. The Celtics don’t have a solid replacement for a guard at the moment, and this kills them. The Celtics are also lacking decent big players in the Center position. Ones that can guard and rebound well. When it comes to the center position, Tristan Thompson is a lackluster defender, and Daniel Thies is constantly getting into foul trouble. Adding on to that, Brad Stevens refuses to put Tacko Fall in, one of the tallest players in the NBA at the moment, that would do so much damage in the post and might solve problems for the Celtics in that area.

The question is, how do the Celtics fix this? In my opinion, the Celtics can currently do one of three things. Focus on the offseason, make a push for the playoffs, or tank and get a good first-round draft pick. With the draft pick, they could make a good trade for a post player or point guard. I could see the Celtics making a move with a good draft pick and Kemba Walker for a defense-oriented good point guard.