The Celtics Blog Podcast — Havlicek Stole the Pod — is back featuring myself, Alex Kungu and occasional roundtable appearances by the CelticsBlog staff. I heard your suggestions, and while Kemba Walker may not be hopping on the mic in short order, improvements are on the way.
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After the near-loss to Turkey on Tuesday, mass media mesmerizingly reacted to a game on the same day it happened. They suddenly cared about Team USA, a group that only matters to the masses if they’re losing. Winning is the floor.
The FIBA World Cup ensemble, highlighted by four Celtics, is inspiring expectations of a loss. This last lost in 2006, even considering the exhibition lapse against Australia last month.
The defense faltered, a double-digit lead against Turkey crumbled and their neck snapped looking at Kemba Walker for answers. All of these ring similar to Celtics issues from last year, and Team USA has one of the best centers in Myles Turner.
It made me imagine Boston, trusting that Walker will absolve the Kyrie Irving mess, confident Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum make another leap. The Celtics transformed from the unbearable group last season, but one of those changes was losing Al Horford — an all-star who hid many issues over three seasons.
That departure, and the new center cast, could position Marcus Smart to play some center. Greg Popovich similarly courted Harrison Barnes at that position for America for spurts.
Parallels exist and no comparison is perfect. Team USA’s lapses prepared me to second-guess the idea that the Celtics will figure everything out after the troubling developments of the past 365 days.
Warning lights shined before Team USA took off for China and they’re playing out already. Those lights could have a green tint.