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Answering your questions Part II - Sixers, young Celtics, and Moose thoughts

On a serious note: Answering your questions about the Celtics playoff chances and the team moving forward

NBA: Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Excellent questions by our community, we needed to split this in two sections. Here’s a link to the first installment, that covered the fun/silly questions. In this installment, we’ll cover the more serious and burning questions you all had.

Hei Yiu: Those surging 76ers. How much of a threat do you foresee the 76ers being in the near future, especially against the Celtics?

Jeff: The Celtics and Sixers should be the class of the East for a while. In particular if LeBron leaves the Cavs for the Western Conference. Philly has a lot of question marks but they also have all the young talent in the world and they are putting good veterans around that core.

If Markelle Fultz can give them just 75% of what they thought they were getting from him as a number 1 pick... If Embiid can stay healthy... If Simmons ever adds some kind of jump shot... There are a lot of “ifs” but there’s also a lot of upside. Like it or not,The Process has already worked and there’s a lot of bigtime upside left that could be coming up.

CelticSquirrel: Where to draw the line?

If Kyrie, Hayward, and Smart stay injured the entire playoffs, what accomplishments do you feel like you’d be happy with for this team? Making it to the second round? ECF? Finals? Just putting up a good fight?

Jeff: I am officially focused on the development of the youth in this playoff series. Sure, it would be nice to see Al Horford step up and lead them as well, but that’s pretty much a known quantity. If Tatum, Brown, and Rozier lead them to the 2nd round, that will be a nice foundation for the future. I can imagine a scenario where they lose in the first round but I’m still encouraged. I can envision a scenario where they make the 2nd round but I’m disappointed. The crazy thing with this squad is that I’m not ruling out another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. You never know.

positivitize: The Case for Moose? What about Greg Monroe? Is he just here with us for the year?

Jeff: I’m hoping that there’s a way the Celtics can keep him around going forward but he’s earned himself a chance at a higher payday, so I’m not sure how that will all shake out. I don’t necessarily think he’s the long term answer at starting center, but he’s a great resource to have coming off the bench to provide scoring, rebounding, and underrated passing from the paint. If he can accept that role and wants to be part of this Celtics team going forward, it could be a really great fit.

bisme: Playoff star rising? Which young Celtic will break out in the playoffs and officially become a star?

Jeff: The more I think about it, the more I think that this could be Jaylen Brown’s time to shine. Tatum gets more of the press, and Rozier could very well take control of a series. But Brown is the kind of guy that gets going (as he did early against the Wizards) and he could just keep rolling. He has no fear and so much unbounded athleticism. He’s smart too, so it almost feels like things could just click into place and he could reach a whole other level when the stakes are higher.

BoJackHorseman: Is Yabusele a disappointment? At the beginning of the year I saw a lot of comparisons between him and Draymond Green but those comparisons seem silly now, Can he still turn into the player we’d hoped he would be ?

Jeff: Prior to this season we had so little actual information on Yabu that it was easy to get a little carried away. That said, the scouting report on him was that he was a major project and any contributions from him early on would be gravy. The Dray comps are simply because he’s big, can move his feet well, and shoot from outside. Comps are always unfair though (for example, Yabu will likely never be in the DPOY conversation).

For the time being, enjoy the effort, the occasional 3 pointers, and of course the point-dab celebrations. He’s getting better, but still very raw.

Celtics21: Looking ahead lineup wise: Can Tatum or Hayward play PF (next season)?

Jeff: I think Tatum can certainly play some small-ball 4 but I don’t necessarily think that Stevens looks at it that way. I think he sees Brown, Hayward, and Tatum as having complimentary size and skills. They can switch up and down on defense and each has strengths that they bring to the table on offense. Throw in the versatility of Al Horford and the dynamic scoring of Irving and you’ve got a pretty special potential staring lineup for next year.

Special shout out to Bird Rights, our new Community Lead, for helping me organize and format this questions post. Look for more from him coming up. Thanks again for all the great questions everyone. Let’s do this again.

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