Boston Celtics Revamped their Roster
Do you know of any number one seeded team from any conference who begun the following season with only 4 players returning on their roster? With more than half their starting lineup currently suiting up for other squads, the Celtics somehow will still remain atop the conference. They traded their All-Star Isaiah Thomas, glue guy Jae Crowder, and rookie big man Ante Zizic to the Cavaliers for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. They also traded their starting shooting guard (who was also their second leading rebounder) Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris.
“With the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select Jayson Tatum.”
At that moment, everyone knew why they traded away the 1st overall pick. Boston got their man, and that man looks like he will be one of the best scoring wings in the NBA sooner rather than later. The Celtics also signed Gordon Hayward, a Western conference all star wing who has gradually improved since being drafted ninth by the Utah Jazz back in 2010. Boston made good use of assets to fill much needed roles and utilized their cap space wisely.
Rolled the Dice and Acquired Kyrie Irving
It isn’t an easy feat to acquire a player of Kyrie Irving’s caliber. The narrative of the Thomas – Irving trade usually reads “Isaiah Thomas’ injury made it easier for the Celtics to complete the trade,” but that’s not all. The Celtics were able to acquire one of the best young point guards who isn’t afraid of time or moment. Kyrie, like Isaiah, isn’t afraid of big shots and has performed on the biggest stage of all, the NBA Finals.
The Celtics will miss Jae Crowder, and although he was their glue guy, he was also a perfect complement to Isaiah Thomas’ drive and kick game. The duo shared most of their time on the court for the Celtics and the chemistry they displayed was tremendous. Crowder is a great player but there’s no telling how next season would have played out without his running mate.
Irving’s Chance to be the Man
Irving would like to run an offense, and with a point-forward like LeBron James on his team, it became more of a battle of who initiated the offense. That shouldn’t be a problem on the Celtics as he will be the sole point guard while on the floor. The Boston Celtics should benefit from Irving’s ISO game, but they will also benefit from his catch and shoot game. Kyrie shot 48.2% from three off of the catch and shoot while Thomas shot 39.9%. Without a true superstar on the team, Kyrie will excel at taking on the pressure of being the number one option.
Boston Celtics Traded Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris
Was Bradley the Celtics second leading rebounder? The answer is yes, but that shouldn’t dictate how people view this trade.
Al Horford, who was the teams starting center and averaged 32.8 minutes per game grabbed a whopping… 11.8% (6th on the Celtics) of the available rebounds on his way to averaging 6.8 (lead the team) rebounds per game. Avery Bradley grabbed a total of 10.1% of the available rebounds while on the floor. Marcus Morris on the other hand grabbed 7.7% of the available rebounds, but what most people don’t take into account are the players who surrounded them.
A Deeper Look at Rebounding (if you don’t like analytics, skip)
The first and second highest rebound percentages on the Celtics were Kelly Olynyk 13.1% and Amir Johnson 12.7% (for players who played at least 10 minutes a game). On the Detroit Pistons, the 1st and second highest rebound percentages were Andre Drummond 25.2% and Aron Baynes 15.8%. This means that while Bradley was on the floor with below average rebounders, especially at the center position, Marcus Morris was playing with elite rebounders. Compared with the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried (20%) who is a rebound grabbing machine, Pistons’ Andre Drummond was able to grab 5.2% more rebounds.
With this trade the Celtics should get better in the rebounding category, and they have also added much needed scoring and defense from the power forward position. The trade also made Kelly Olynyk expendable, which in turn helped the Celtics sign Gordon Hayward.
Boston Celtics Added Jayson Tatum Through the Draft
Jayson Tatum flashed his potential throughout summer league. Tatum finished 4th in the Utah Summer League with 18.7 points per game,and second in rebounds per game with 9.7 (trailing only his Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown). He was also 3rd in steals with 2.3 steals per game. Although he will take some time to develop behind both Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum looks the part as a high scoring and efficient wing.
Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving a BIG 3?
The Boston Celtics were able to turn an expiring contract, a first round pick and Jae Crowder into Kyrie Irving. They retained Al Horford and added Gordon Hayward. One thing they won’t lack next season is scoring. If Brad Stevens can figure out how to defend opposing power houses, the Celtics will be a top team in the league. Most fans are talking about the Rockets and the addition of Chris Paul or the Oklahoma City Thunder and their latest additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but it is a big mistake to discount the Celtics and their moves this off-season.