I am on a never-ending quest to place the entire Celtics roster into fun little nicknamed groups, and these preseason games have provided plenty of inspiration. Monday’s game against the Knicks saw the Bus One Brigade take over, and Wednesday’s win over the 76ers saw the emergence of the Super Support Squad.
It’s a more selective club, consisting of only three members: Jrue Holiday, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White. Think of them as elite character actors in a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. The show can’t go on without them, and while they definitely aren’t the main characters, they will be certified fan favorites.
The Super Support Squad came into their own tonight, each playing exactly 17 minutes and scoring exactly 11 points. With both Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown inactive, last night was a stress-free taste of what the Celtics’ third, fourth, and fifth offensive options would look like when playing together.
Wednesday’s preseason game showed what Holiday, Porzingis and White could do for the C’s offensively in both the best and worst case scenarios. In the best case, the offensive sets are clicking. Everything runs through Tatum and Brown, making sure the team’s best players remain involved, with our three supporting heroes spacing the floor, moving off the ball and making the right plays at the right times.
In this worst case, Tatum and Brown are either injured or just not feeling it, forcing the Celtics to place the Super Support Squad in charge for the night, and Wednesday showed us how that’s not remotely a bad thing.
This trio enables a degree of flexibility not afforded to former versions of this team. Porzingis in particular is a uniquely skilled offensive weapon, allowing the Celtics three whole elite shot creators that can initiate when things get stale in the half court. Holiday and White are not traditionally isolation ball-handlers, but they can get it done if that’s what the team needs.
White may not bring the creative versatility or the shot volume to dub him a true scoring threat, but has a pretty good supplement: he has a thing. White sits at the top of the key in the triple threat, take two hard dribbles to his right and then half-spins inside to a strong push shot.
It’s a pretty simple move, but he executes it with such precision that it occasionally was the Celtics’ best option if Tatum and Brown were floundering. White will still have his thing, but the Super Support Squad affords the Celtics a lot more things than last year.
There is a reason Porzingis is called “The Unicorn,” as his skill set should plainly not be possible at his gargantuan size. He is a pure and efficient shooter who often has eight or more inches on most perimeter defenders, yet comparably-sized opponents can rarely handle his versatility when he puts the ball on the deck. If injuries didn’t exist, we may be talking about Porzingis as one of the decade’s elite offensive players. But they do exist, so… yeah.
And then there’s the glorious Holiday and Porzingis pick-and-roll (H.A.P.P.A.R), something perhaps too beautiful for mere mortals to witness. These are two high-level, cerebral players who have seen tons of NBA action. With Holiday’s unselfishness and Porzingis’ Unicorn-ness, the H.A.P.P.A.R should be a weapon of mass destruction. I’ll work on that acronym.
None of this even mentions the Super Support Squad’s top-tier defensive abilities, with White and Holiday forming the most dominant defensive backcourt in the league and Porzingis protecting the rim with his colossal frame. Isn’t this cool?
Obviously, that was all very analytical, but I’d encourage you to take a moment to just be excited about this. How freaking cool is it that the Celtics have Holiday, White, and Porzingis as their supporting cast? It legitimately makes me giddy thinking about it, and I don’t want any of us to let the championship expectations dull how positively awesome this is.
Soak it all in, because this feeling doesn’t come around very often. Soon it will be time to go to work, but let’s just savor this for now. Hit the snooze button on the alarm, and doze off for five more minutes. We won’t regret it in the long run.