The Celtics are 59 games into the season. Does an All-Star Break make sense to have now? Absolutely not. Does the NBA care? Absolutely not. The Celtics have only 23 games left in the regular season. I’m aware this should have been written about 20 games ago, but let’s grade the Celtics roster at the NBA’s version of “the halfway point”.
The Celtics have been playing some TERRIBLE basketball the past week and a half, but if you told me they would be 40-19 the night Gordon Hayward went down I would have been ecstatic. So here I am feeling ecstatic:
The following are grades from a super unbiased non-celtics fan (LIE)
Kyrie Irving A-
Can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said already. Kyrie came with everything that was advertised (buckets included). I was a big fan of Isiah Thomas. His ability to score at 5 ft 8, his determination, his heart playing with the tragedy of his sister’s death. With all that, Danny made the right decision. Kyrie is exponentially better in all facets. The area that I think he excels is the way he leads his team. I see him constantly encouraging his team when mistakes are made and rarely do I see negative body language coming from him. This is important with the number of young guys we have on this team. The way Kyrie goes about things on and off the court is admirable and is a nice model for the young guns. I will say this season I’ve noticed in games against the top teams he hasn’t been able to produce to the level we know we can. There are three games against the heavyweights that are Cleveland and Golden State where I’ve felt he’s not on the court. I was at one of those games and felt like he was a shell of what he can be. I’d like to see him put up the 40 point games against the stiffer competition is all. (Geesh Nitpicking much)
^ Most of our readers do great things each day but watching that could possibly be the best 7 minutes you spend all day. Just sayin.
Jaylen Brown B+
I’m not going to lie, I want even more from Jaylen. Yes, he’s only in his second year, and yes he’s been extremely solid. I’m just looking for an extra gear that I know is in there. The game after his best friend passed is what I want from him all the time. I’m not saying I want tragedy to motivate him all the time, I just feel that if he had that fire, that killer instinct, he’d be unstoppable. He’s easily the most athletic guy on the team, and hopefully, over time he will progress to being a force. For now, he needs to keep working on that jump shot. If defenders started to respect his shot it would be huge for him because he can blow by anybody in the league. It’s crazy what happens when he just drives to the damn basket. Defensively he’s been a beast. Last year he ended up on Lebron in the Conference Finals and did pretty well. Were the Cavs already up 50 when Stevens finally put him on Lebron?
Maybe, but experience is experience. That will help us this time around.
Marcus Smart On The Court B+
Marcus Smart Off The Court F—-
Nothing Marcus does off the court truly shocks me. We knew what we were getting with him. People forget that this happened but I’m bringing it up.
Was he a 19-year-old kid when that happened? Sure. Doesn’t mean he’s still not a loose cannon. I talked about the lack of passion and fire with Jaylen Brown, with Marcus he’s certainly got passion and fire it just needs to be channeled in a more positive manner. We still have no clue what happened in the LA hotel, but I bet you it wasn’t good. I also bet you there’s more to the story than just a picture frame. The thing is this incident has shown how important Marcus is to this team. WE SUCK WITHOUT HIM.
I was on Team “Do Not Trade Marcus” from the beginning when those rumors started swirling. I don’t care if Lou Williams is awesome, for this team to be successful this year Marcus Smart needs to be on our team.
He is easily one of the NBA’s top 10 defenders. He gets into people’s heads. He doesn’t give you a lick of space, and he’s got a non-stop motor. If the guy could just understand he’s not Kobe Bryant he’d be an All-Star. I’m repeating myself but go to the damn basket. He’s so good when he chooses to not shoot the 3 that goes in less than 30% of the time.
Yet, the blocks, the steals, the charges he takes make up for it every time. If you choose to watch one of these highlight videos in this entire post PLEASE watch this one. I beg you. It’s this kind of stuff that coaches dream they had on most of their teams. This stuff most of the time just doesn’t make the highlight reel on ESPN. This is all just from this season mind you. He’s been doing this since he was drafted. Remember, the only reason we beat the Houston Rockets this year was because of Marcus.
Al Horford A for Al.
The only reason this man doesn’t get an A+ is because defensively he just can not go up against the Drummonds, Ibaka’s and Deandre Jordans, of the NBA. Not his fault he wasn’t born even more giant than he already is. Offensively he has gone above and beyond shooting 50% from the field and 43% from three for the first 59 games. Yep, that’s a power forward shooting 43% from the parking lot. That’s AWESOME!
Horford is the oil that makes the cogs turn. He is an underrated leader in the locker room and game after game I watch I see him making that “Extra Pass” that puts the team in the best position to score. He took a lot of heat from the media for being “The Magician” who magically poofed into thin air anytime the game was close. This year he’s done things like this:
Jayson Tatum A (For Being a Rookie) B- (For Being the Next Paul Pierce)
I can’t put into words my feelings for Jayson Tatum. This child is going to be a frickin force if he keeps up what he’s putting down. You would think he’s been in the league for 3-4 years if you’ve never seen the Celtics play before. His confidence is off the charts. My favorite part of him is his mid-range jump shot. IT GOES IN! It’s wild. I feel like it always goes in. It reminds me of Pierce so damn much. Over the years I hope he starts taking on a leadership role because he’s something special boy. People talk about the “Eye Test” This guy passes it with flying colors at 19 years young. I look forward to seeing if he can keep this confidence up in the playoffs.
His highlight reel is 8 minutes long on Youtube if you wanted to watch it. Yes, there’s that many highlights. I think Donovan Mitchell (look him up if you have no clue who I’m talking about) is going to win Rookie of the Year, but Tatum will definitely steal some votes away.
Terry Rozier A
I’m the nicest grader ever. Terry has gone above and beyond my expectations this season. He is the ideal bench player for the playoffs. He’s this year’s version of James Posey. Every time he’s on the court he’s helping not hurting the team. The fact that he has Kyrie to learn from and compete against on a nightly basis is huge for his game and I can not wait to see him get better and better. He’s going to be a huge part of this Celtics team whether he is on it or a trade piece for another star.
Marcus Morris B
Stats-wise you have to like Marcus Morris. He scores points I can’t deny that. I think he forces up his shot wayyyy to much. He’s a big body that we need I just want him to make better decisions with the ball.
Aaron Baynes B
There’s nights that Aaron Baynes is a beast among men like he was earlier in the season against the Lakers , and then there’s nights he’s a ghost. You are 7 feet tall my man. YOU ARE NOT A GHOST. I love Bayne’s most of the time he’s on the court but I am also very happy Danny decided to go and get Greg Monroe. I think Monroe will be able to do what Baynes can’t and having both of them for the playoffs is extremely valuable.
Brad Stevens A
I’m just gonna leave this here. If the best coach in the game says stuff like this about you. I’m not gonna give you anything but an A.
Danny Ainge Is There Anything Higher Than An A+???
Danny did the best possible job this offseason. He signed a top tier free agent in Gordon Hayward. He stole Kyrie from the toughest competition in the Eastern Conference. He still has top draft picks galore for seasons to come, and traded the #1 pick for the #3 pick and got Jayson Tatum. BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! DANIEL! BRAVO!
You almost have made me forget the Perkins trade. Almost.
BONUS GRADE: Gordon Hayward A for Attitude
THIS MAN IS DOING EVERYTHING IT TAKES TO COME BACK AND PERFORM AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL! CAN’T WAIT!
He was seen draining 3’s a few weeks ago. No boot. No chair. I do not want to see him on the floor until next year, but I am extremely happy that he is progressing nicely from that gruesome injury.
We are almost at the exciting time of NBA and NHL Playoffs. I am PUMPED about this Celtics team. I am looking forward to some competitive basketball in the coming months. I’m not going to go all crazy on you and say this team is destined for a title, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. This team can play with anyone it’s just if they can do a better job of not going down double digits in the first half EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. GAME.
Can they beat the Cavs in 7 games? I think so. Can they give the Warriors a tough test? YES. I’m not going to sit here and say that we’d handily beat the Warriors in the finals, but we truly do matchup well against them. Smart can guard Curry. Jaylen and Morris can (Try to) defend Durant. I love the Draymond Horford matchup. Tatum vs Thompson. It’s cool to dream about. Not sure it’ll happen this year, but damn I’m gonna root for it.
Seth an I will be driving the Celtics Bandwagon this year, and there is PLENTY of room.
^^^ Honestly, pretty spot on LOL.