BREAKING NEWS: The Boston Celtics are fielding a pretty darn good basketball team this season. After all the casual fans changed the channel during their opening-night drubbing versus the Sixers, the C’s have ripped off five wins in a row and looked darn good doing so. Nobody has more wins in the Eastern Conference.
In the event that you haven’t been paying as close of attention as you should be, here’s a quick bulleted list of what the Celtics have been doing in the first two weeks.
Kemba Walker is good: Kemba is averaging 32 points, six rebounds and five assists per game on a 69.8 true shooting % over the last three contests. He didn’t play well in the opener, and has had some rough shooting stretches, but he’s starting to hit his stride. It was a matter of when, not if, and “when” seems to be now. He is the best player on the team, but he doesn’t have to be for the Celtics to win. Scoring guards always do well under Brad Stevens, but that is how you know it’s really working.
The rookies; also good: Grant Williams is already capable of playing the backup big man role as a rookie. He may look small defending centers on post-ups, but he has the IQ and strength to battle with nearly anybody. He can be switched onto smaller players, and he battles hard for every rebound. He’s also a decent playmaker and free throw shooter. He’s like a discounted, inexperienced version of Al Horford. Carsen Edwards can catch fire just by having the ball in his hands, and clearly has the confidence to compete in the NBA. He could have a few nights this year where he comes off the bench and scores 12 points in four minutes. Romeo Langford hasn’t played much yet due to injuries, but he’s easily one of the funniest players in the NBA, so it’s fine. Watch the video of Marcus Smart pranking him with a $4500 Chipotle order, you will see what I mean.
Tatum, Jaylen, and Hayward are gelling: Jayson Tatum is shooting more threes, driving to the rim more often, and hit a game-winner against the Knicks. Gordon Hayward looks to have his athleticism and confidence back and had his first 20/10 game as a Celtic. Jaylen Brown is showing he deserved 100% of the money he got (four years, $115M) and more. The wing is the Celtics’ deepest position, and all three of their starters are producing so far. They’ve all been making post-game comments about each other’s improvement. A beautiful sight to see.
Timelord and Theis are capable: The center position may not be as weak as we thought, Timelord and Daniel Theis have been playing solid defense. Enes Kanter has only played in two games after nearly losing his leg against Philly. The team calls it a “knee contusion” but him being out this long lead me to believe it might be more serious than that. It’s wise for him to take it slow and rest, though, because Timelord and Theis are better at defense than he is and have done a swell job at filling space on offense.
In summation; things are going well! And I didn’t even mention Marcus Smart (until now), who has had the best offensive start to a season of his career and single-handedly kept the team in the game against Milwaukee. Who knows what happens once the trade market to heats up mid-December, too? The Celtics may not have the hype and across-the-board talent that they did last season, but the chemistry is through the roof and it is a blast to watch them play. It’s a shame that only like 2% of Chowdah readers watch this team. Your loss, not mine!
P.S. anyone who lives in the southern Maine area would behoove themselves to catch a Red Claws game featuring Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, the Celtics two-way G-League players. Opening night is the Nov. 15th. Tickets are cheap, the Red Claws will be good, and we know everyone loves Tacko. Support Maine basketball.
By Chase Whitney