The Boston Celtics are 4-0 since I wrote an article that said we need to question everything about the team. Not taking credit, just hoping that I don’t jinx the team by writing anything new. As is often the case, I don’t have enough article-length thoughts so I’m going to share my scattered thoughts and welcome any and all comments below.
When 3 of your top 7 players are centers and there’s little to no wing depth, that makes for some funky lineups and guys playing both out of position and in some cases in a larger role than they should be in. Brad Stevens went with double big lineups out of necessity but it was gumming up the works and didn’t provide the kinds of advantages that would outweigh the negatives.
Clearly Theis isn’t a bad player and I’ll always admire what he brought to the table for this team. But removing him from the lineup and inserting Romeo Langford and (at least for a few games) Evan Fournier, just balances out the roster more. Instead of leaning on guys like Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye to play big minutes at the wing, they fall more into their normal roles as smallball bigs.
Romeo in particular has been a sight for sore eyes on defense. I didn’t anticipate how much we would miss Gordon Hayward’s size and spacing on defense. Langford provides that and adds a lot of energy and active feet.
Of course no one man is enough to change the fortunes of a team, but every little spark helps. Marcus Smart is looking more like himself again too. The Jays sometimes ebb and flow on defense depending on the way the offense is going. And again, that roster balance of putting the right people in the right spots seems to help a lot too.
So is this just a hot streak? Will they hit another bump in the road and fall back down to .500 again? Or is there reason to believe that this team is finally turning a corner?
Here’s my case for optimism (because the case for pessimism should be pretty obvious).
Kemba is up and down from game to game but on a macro scale he seems to have gotten better as the year has progressed and he seems to be fitting into the third banana role more.
Marcus Smart is back and doing Marcus Smart things (in a good way).
Evan Fournier and Romeo Langford might just be able to fill the Gordon Hayward sized hole this team has had all season long.
Robert Williams is real and he’s fantastic. (Seinfeld reference intended)
As always, we’ll go as far as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will take us and they’ve been amazing lately.
What does that mean for the playoffs? I’m holding out hope for the 4 seed and I think it is well within reach. Get us rolling with some good luck and it isn’t hard to imagine this team winning a playoff series or two. It is easy to forget that this team was in the Eastern Conference Finals a mere 7 months ago. The core foundation of that team still exists on this roster. That’s not the end goal, the end goal is always a championship. I’m just making the point that our long term potential shouldn’t be defined by one bad (weird) season.
Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!