As I often do, I found myself looking at the Boston Celtics schedule, thinking about the games played and the games ahead and it really struck me. There were so many changes this year. Of course we all know that’s what the off-season brings; change. What we also know is that change isn’t always easy.
We have seen some of our guys leave this summer, some have stayed and some have joined the greatest franchise in basketball history. After watching our team’s performance in the first five games, and reflecting on the shuffling that took place this summer, I had feelings of relief, sadness and hope.
Before I even start this section, I want to make it very clear that I wish no ill-will on anyone. Now that that’s out of the way, I will say this…I am not sad int he departure of both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier. I was a huge supporter of Kyrie while he donned the white and green, and defended him to a fault. Unfortunately, his style of leadership and play just didn’t fit the way the Boston Celtics operated.
Don’t get me wrong, Irving is definitely one of the most talented points guards in the league, but when talent isn’t coupled with team play, trouble will inevitably follow. It wasn’t long into the season that the locker room drama affected the on-court play. I don’t blame Kyrie for all of it, each team member must take responsibility for his part and Terry Rozier is no exception.
I refuse to say Terry’s woes were all because of the locker room disharmony, but they certainly added to it. Rozier’s main problem, and the reason I was happy to see him go, was he just couldn’t accept the role he was asked to play. Terry showed promise as a great point guard in the league, but I never felt he was ready to be the leading man.
The reason being, if you can’t follow the team’s lead, you can’t lead the team. Well, in any case, T-Ro is getting his chance now, but until he fully embraces he needs to do what’s best for the team, he will always be struggling to find his way into the hearts of the fans. I wish both Kyrie and Terry the very best, but glad it’s not here in Boston.
WISH YOU WERE HERE:
There have been many players that have been endeared to Boston Celtics fans over the years, and I could easily give an article to each one, but I’m going to stick with who we lost this year. Fans all across New England could be heard wailing when the departure of Al Horford was announced.
I have often referred to Al leaving like a horrible break-up you didn’t see coming. I really miss Al’s presence not only on the court, but in the locker room as well. He was a steadying voice of reason and a seasoned defender. The fact he was Joel Embiid’s kryptonite and now teammate, hurts deeps. Al is a versatile big that contributes on both sides of the court. He could block shots, set perfect screens and drain a three when necessary.
There’s a big gap in the Boston Celtics line up for a player like that. Aaron Baynes is also a huge miss in my book. When “All of Australia” when to Phoenix, a huge defensive hole was left. Baynes was a beast on the floor and knew where to be at the right time. Even in games where he played limited minutes, he made an impact. Al, Aaron, I really wish you were still here.
HAPPY TO SEE YOU:
I tend to watch with one eye opened when the trade deadline approaches because there are certain guys that are off-limits in my opinion, but as we all know Danny Ainge doesn’t always agree with that. With that said, I am so thankful that my guy, (Yes Kyle Draper, stealing your line), Marcus Smart is still here. We could not have afforded to lose him. His heart keeps the entire team beating, especially in those tough games. I’ve mentioned several times how much I love his grit, so I won’t repeat myself again, but seriously, I’m so very glad to see you Marcus.
I’m also extremely please to see Brad Stevens still at the helm. He received a lot of criticism last year, even from me, but looking back, I don’t think it was entirely fair. Brad, when allowed to do his job, and with players who will run what he draws up, has been proven to be one of the greatest basketball minds to each carry the coach’s clipboard. That doesn’t mean I think he leaves guys out too long or pulls other guys out too early, but I like what I’m seeing. Loved that he received the first challenge win ever in the NBA, and it appears he’s getting a bit more feistier on the side line too. Brad, happy to see you back!
This list could certainly change as the season continues, and perhaps I’ll revisit it during the All-Star break, but for now let’s see how the year plays out. I wouldn’t be disappointed if we acquired another big man, but only if he doesn’t disrupt the chemistry we’ve got going right now. We’ve got a great group of guys, fantastic leadership and the Celtics are proving they are true contenders in the league.