By: Kevin Sinatra
October 6, 2020
As a lifelong Celtics fan, it is heartbreaking to watch the season end the way it did. We all know that this NBA season was far from normal, with all things Covid-19 related, such as a 3-month break in the middle of the season, to having to live and play in a bubble, it definitely was not easy for any team; although some would consider making the Eastern Conference Finals a great accomplishment, as Celtics fans we know that our team fell short. Considered year-in and year-out as a title contender, what moves do the Celtics need to make in order to ensure an NBA Finals appearance next season?
1. Need to Sign/Trade for a Solid Post Presence
I love Daniel Thies as much as the next guy, and I love his grit, but we need more than what he has to offer as our starting big man. Yes, I know; many people would argue “Well, we have Kanter,” “Robert Williams is a young stud,” or my personal favorite “Develop Tacko, he’s 7’4 for crying out loud”, trust me I hear you Celtics nation, but I can’t say I agree. Kanter is a great offensive weapon when it comes to the Celtics’ platoon of big men, but he is more than just a liability on defense. Robert Williams is good, and has great potential, but he does not have the IQ or maturity as a player yet to take on such a crucial role. Lastly Tacko… we all love tacos don’t we? Tacko Fall, the 7’4 rookie big man. Many Celtics fans were skeptical as to why Tacko did not play much this season, and I guess you can blame it on his shape/athletic ability. Yes, we get it, he is HUGE, but what good is it if he’s already tired after only 3 or 4 trips down the court. Now I’m not here to knock the Celtics’ bigs, but let’s be real. As a championship contender, none of these players are ready to take on that role and help Boston get over that ECF hump.
In free agency this year, there are more than enough affordable, veteran big men worthy enough to take on this role for the C’s. Some names that come to mind are Tristan Thompson, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Derrick Favors, I mean the list goes on and on. There are even top-tier big men available such as Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond, although their contracts would be more than the Celtics could afford. The point being there are better options out there for the Celtics to explore. Ideally, I think a guy of Tristan Thompson’s stature would be the best fit, considering he is a defense-first rebounding big, and does not demand the ball. The Celtics need a big that will get them 10+ rebounds a night, and can cover the opposing teams’ big, no matter who it is.
The Celtics last resort would be to trade a package for a Steven Adams or Clint Capela stature player.
2. Sign Bench Depth
Similar to their big man situation, the Celtics also need to add more depth to their bench. Although we have some solid talent off the bench such as Grant Williams, Robert Williams, Semi Ojeleye, Brad Wanamaker, and occasionally Marcus Smart and/or Gordon Hayward, the Celtics are still in need of some key bench players; guys that can give you that spark off the bench as well as some veteran role players. Similar to Big Men, there is also a ton of bench/role player talent in free agency as well. The Celtics should look into the following Free Agents this off-season to help complete their bench: Rodney Hood, Joe Harris, Wesley Matthews, Paul Millsap, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and more.
3. Brad Needs to Instill Fear into His Players
As a coach you always want your players to WANT to play for you, and I think Brad Stevens does a good job of that. But how nice is too nice? I mean, personally, sometimes it seems like the Celtics players do whatever they want, without any fear of repercussions. Even though you never want to be too hard as a coach, Steven’s needs to find the common ground between being a nice guy, and a hard coach. Honestly, how many more contested 3-pointers do we have to watch the Celtics chuck up with 20 seconds left on the shot clock before Brad holds them accountable.
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