(cracks knuckles) Ok then. The scrimmages are done and the “real games” can begin. But not before I have a chance to jot down some thoughts from the scrimmages. Nothing worth a full article (at least by me). Just some scattered thoughts. Hey, everyone else is easing into this, so I am, too.
Was thinking (again) about this yesterday: Jaylen Brown (who was hands down the best player of the 3 scrimmage games) has made so many improvements and has become such a great player. In any other circumstance, we’d be gaga over him and (probably) overrating him as all enthusiastic fans do.
Yet because he plays in Jayson Tatum’s shadow, he’s actually a little underrated. So far he seems cool with all that and if anything it might be keeping him hungry to keep pushing himself to improve. I don’t know, I’m not in his head, but all indications are that he’s got a great head on his shoulders (stretching far beyond basketball).
Bottom line: I’m a fan and I’m very happy to have both him and Tatum on the roster together.
Not sure what to make of Kemba Walker’s knee situation. Best case seems to be that it is manageable and the team is being (correctly) overly cautious. Worst case is that our newest max player isn’t going to be himself through the life of his contract. The few minutes he got in one scrimmage isn’t much to go on. Probably just going to be a wait and see situation that we won’t know the full scope of till the playoffs.
Marcus Smart is so talented that I don’t think he even uses all his talents on a day-to-day basis. I’m not talking about the kick-ups, walking on his hands, trick shots, and stuff like that (although that stuff is fun, too).
There are times when he breaks down defenders with really nifty moves. There are passes that he makes that only elite level point guards make. But he is so centrally focused on winning plays and making good things happen on the court that he doesn’t need to go fully into his bag for those flashier plays. Love that guy.
The scrimmages felt a bit like training camp, so it makes sense that one topic of discussion is the “position battle” between Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams. The boring answer is that this will come down to matchups. Semi is the more experienced defender and it sounds like he’s been doing good work on this 3 point shot. Williams is inexperienced but crafty in a Young Marcus Smart (rapper name) sort of way. The jury is still out on Grant’s jumper too, given the way he started out the season (which was SO long ago). I think eventually Grant takes this position, but Brad might trust Semi more right now.
Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see how the playoff rotation takes shape (assuming full health — knock knock knocking on wood). Starters plus Marcus are set in stone. I think Kanter is a virtual lock (though some matchups may take him right out of the mix). Wannamaker is a low-risk, steady hand to eat up minutes. Then there’s either Semi or Grant depending on matchups and that may be it. Romeo might see some minutes here or there. Timelord might find some minutes with the right matchups. But I can’t see either playing a huge role in a playoff series.
I’m contractually obligated to mention Tacko Fall. So there you go.
On to the (slightly more) meaningful games!