Alright, so NESN just tweeted out this article that was published this morning. The piece was written by Logan Mullen. Never heard of him. He’s probably never heard of me. But either way, I think NESN just left him out to dry. In his article he pretty much defends the point that the Celtics are not a true contender for an NBA title this year because they aren’t better than they were last year. He also digs into how the rest of the Eastern Conference seeming got better. Those two points… whatever. To each his own. Even though I don’t agree with it in this case about the Celtics, saying a team is “not better” does not mean the same thing as saying team “got worse.” Which NESN clearly took that nugget and ran with. My true problem is with that preposterous, triggering (yes, it clearly worked) headline…Yikes..
Claiming that the Celtics got worse this offseason, simply put, is stupid. It shows someone doesn’t truly understand (or possibly watch) this Celtics team. Like I said, I am not here to argue if the Celts will truly contend or if they are even a percentage point better than they were last year or that the rest of the conference did/didn’t get better. I am just going to bodybag the idea that the Celtics are now a worse team than they were last season.
So what were the flaws in the Celtics team last season? Well, for starters (pun intended), they didn’t have a true starting-caliber big man. Guess what? They went out and got a big man. Tristan Thompson immediately becomes the best big man on this team. This guy is a walking double-digit rebounder, which is something the Celtics desperately needed.
Next up, the Celtics backup point guard position. If you are like me, you threw up in your mouth every single time you saw Brad Wanamaker bring the ball up the court. “OH BUT HE WAS SO EFFICIENT AND HE HAS STRONG HANDS! ANNND HE WAS THE BEST FT SHOOTER IN THE LEAGUE.” Save it… Brad Wanamaker stunk out loud. That is a fact. Well, the Celtics went out and signed former All-Star PG Jeff Teague. Now, even if you don’t love the Teague signing… we can all agree he is 10x better than turning to Brad Wanamaker off the bench.
The Celtics also needed a shooter. While I do agree with Logan here that we shouldn’t bank on Aaron Nesmith to come in and be the shooting fix. That is fair. However, if executives were to ever truly believe that, they’d never draft shooters because in Logan’s experience they almost never work out in the pros. But it’s super convenient to list names like James Young, RJ Hunter, etc., but leave out a plethora (possibly the majority) of other college sharpshooters that have gone on to shoot incredibly well in the NBA…
Another big thing the Celtics lacked in last season was any semblance of veteran experience on this team. Would you look at that, Thompson and Teague sure as hell work to erase that need. It is also worth noting that by this point Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown all have some decent playoff experience themselves.
So that is what the Celtics added and/or fixed… but what about what they lost?
If someone even begins to make the point that losing any of those first three names mean anything… I swear I will slap you silly on the spot.
The only real loss here is Gordon Hayward. I won’t sit here and scream at you saying, “HAYWARD STUNK HERE! HE WAS ALWAYS INJURED! NOT WORTH THE MONEY!!” However, on a completely factual level, Hayward really didn’t fit in with this current team. So I don’t think the loss is as bad as people may think. When the Celtics signed him, he was supposed to be Isaiah Thomas’ co-star. Think about that. It is crazy to realize how much had changed during Haywards contract. He went from being the 1B player on the team with Isaiah, to the clear No.2 player with Kyrie, to being the fourth option (some nights even fifth) on this team. He was probably statistically the best fourth option to ever set foot on the hardwood, we can give him that. But I just don’t think the outrage about losing your fourth option is ever warranted. Regardless of who that player is. The Celtics won’t replace their fourth option averaging 17 points per game. However, with the additions they’ve made I can see a chunk of those points being dispersed elsewhere, and throw in an uptick in PPG with Tatum and Brown and I think you are fine.
You know i can’t go an entire Celtics blog without using my catchphrase.. This year’s Celtics team is going to be just as (if not more) LEGIT than last year’s squad. You can count on that.
Again, this entire blog is to dispute the take that the Celtics are a worse team than they were last year. If someone doesn’t have what it takes to believe in this team’s ability to contend, that is their battle. If that same someone is afraid of the rest of the Eastern Conference and the moves that were made? Well, they probably still sleep with a nightlight.
All in all, the only gripe I now have with Logan (the author) is that he threw out the idea of the Celtics being a 7th seed??? That’s a tough take. My real problem is with NESN for this stupid, stupid headline.