Guerin: This Celtics Team is far From Likable
Photo Credit: Jim Davis/Boston Globe
It’s amazing to think that this iteration of the Boston Celtics is 33-19.
8-2 in their last ten, 21-6 at home. Two wins over the Toronto Raptors, a nail-biter against the Golden State Warriors, and a loaded roster… yet this doesn’t feel like previous Celtics teams.
The parallel I draw between this Celtics team is the 2017 Red Sox. 93 wins. A second straight AL East crown. And the most unlikeable bunch of players imaginable. A coach that people hated on before it was time to make a change. A barely memorable playoff exit, at the hands of a young Astros team full of fan-favorites.
This Celtics ball club was rightfully billed as the biggest challenge to the Warriors going into the season. They still have a loaded roster, but circumstances have radically shifted as the season has gone along. They started out 10-10, and the sky was falling in Boston. But they have gone 23-9 since, and that hasn’t lessened the panic around the team.
Gordon Hayward was (rightfully) given the chance to improve as the season has gone along, but he has done anything but. The former All-Star looks like a shell of himself and has been relegated to a bench role. In the Celtics’ 115-111 loss to Golden State, the difference in the game was Hayward’s two points, on a putrid 0-5 shooting. He posted a minus-8, but that doesn’t begin to describe it; outside of a couple steals, Hayward looked lost and overmatched in the biggest game of the year.
The other disappointment in the Golden State game was Terry Rozier. A far cry from the playoff hero of a year ago, Rozier registered just two points and three rebounds in the game. Rozier has been inconsistent all season, seemingly unwilling to accept his reserve role. The Louisville product believes he is a starter but hasn’t lived up to the billing.
Some of the side-effects of Hayward’s re-ingratiating into the offense have come at the expense of the two young guns, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown has suffered more, relegated to the bench because of an atrocious start to the season. Tatum has been unwilling to take the ball to the basket, instead settling for Kobe-like fadeaways from just inside the arc.
At the nucleus of the Celtic drama is Kyrie Irving. With rumors swirling about his impending free agency, Irving is not willing to commit to the Celtics again after he told season ticket holders that he would resign at the start of the season. Kyrie has called out his teammates multiple times after games this season, voicing his displeasure with the Celtics system and sending the media into a frenzy.
This isn’t like previous Brad Stevens teams. Those teams were plucky underdogs, shared the ball, and fun to root for. This team looks like they are five individuals, playing one-on-one throughout the game at times, which isn’t fun to watch.
Celtics fans are the most positive of any Boston sports fanbase. They will never utter a bad word about their team. If even the greenest of green-teamers are getting frustrated and voicing their displeasure, then it’s clear that there’s something wrong in Beantown.
Sure, if the Celtics lose in the playoffs, I’ll be sad; but honestly, I’m not sure if I care that much right now.