3 Positive Takeaways From the Celtics’ Slow Startby Dylan Corey November 24, 2018 0 comments
The Boston Celtics have been a letdown thus far, to say the least, and there is plenty of criticism to go around.
Jaylen Brown hasn’t delivered, Gordon Hayward is nowhere near where he once was, and the Celtics are scratching and clawing to keep a record above .500. Despite these disappointments, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate the impressive aspects of their overall lackluster performance.
1. Kyrie Irving proving that he can play the lead role
When Irving requested a trade to get himself away from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, the majority of questions revolved around if he could be “that guy.” He had a solid start in Boston, shooting the highest percentage of his career and scoring over 24 points a game. That said, part of what made last year’s squad so deadly is that everyone around him was playing at a high level as well.
Now, with what seems like every other Celtic struggling, Irving emerged as borderline unstoppable on the offensive end. Until the remaining four starters begin getting back into rhythm, they will need the five-time All-Star to continue his tear.
2. They are getting a plethora of open looks
There is probably nothing more enraging than watching the Celtics get into their offense and run it with minimal errors—just to see them trot back down the court empty-handed.
It seems like on a nightly basis, this happens way more often than it should. Irving gets a high screen from Al Horford, drives to the basket, kicks it to Hayward in the corner, who makes the extra pass to a wide-open Brown for a stand-still trey—brick. Next possession, Tatum is breaking down his defender, when he sees Hayward making the perfect backdoor cut for what should be a routine layup—keyword is should—as Hayward fumbles the pass, and throws up a lousy attempt that leaves everyone wondering what on Earth is going on.
Not to worry, though. The Celtics are top five in both open and wide open three-point attempts. This is proof that despite a ton of missed shots, head coach Brad Stevens is getting the looks he wants more often than not. Once the said looks start falling, the rare awful offensive possession will be nothing more than a slight shake of the head for otherwise satisfied fans.
3. Jayson Tatum is finding his groove
Similar to Irving, Tatum started the season slowly. Don’t get me wrong, he had some impactful nights, but there were also multiple occasions where he was an absolute non-factor. In the last six games, however, he has averaged 18.5 points per game. His assists have taken a hit, but Tatum was never expected to be a facilitator. In addition, the assists number will take a significant jump when the team can hopefully start making the shots that they should be.
I know that the “it’s still early” narrative is getting hard to believe, but these undeniable bright spots prove it’s only a matter of time before things take a turn for the best.