This will be an important season for the Boston Celtics. Last year, they were one of the most disappointing teams in the league at the beginning of the year, but by the end, they managed to go on a run to the NBA Finals. They turned things around in spectacular fashion.
Everyone on the team bought into Ime Udoka’s methods, Jayson Tatum stepped up in the second half of the season, and the team’s defense went nuclear. Unfortunately, they fell just short, and they’ll be looking to make it even further this year.
In order for that to happen, however, everyone will need to improve even more this season. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report wrote an article that detailed the biggest question mark for each team. For Boston, he said that it’s whether or not Tatum and Jaylen Brown can take things to another level.
“On paper, this team has juggernaut potential, but could the Jays themselves have some untapped potential, too? That feels a tad greedy to ask, as they combined for more than 50 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists last season, but given the minuscule margin for error at the top, they might need to deliver more,” Buckley wrote.
An improvement from Tatum would likely enter him in MVP conversations, while an improvement from Brown would probably cement him as an All-Star and improve his chances of making an All-NBA team.
That being said, Buckley noted that the team has done a solid job of putting more talent around him.
Celtics Surrounding Tatum & Brown With Talent
In the Finals last year, the Celtics ran into issues with depth. A bunch of players struggled, and there weren’t enough pieces off the bench ready to step in and step up. Buckley mentioned that Brad Stevens has done well to add more talent to the roster this summer.
“Boston’s front office has done everything in its power to construct a championship roster around All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown,” said Buckley. “(Unfortunately, that couldn’t include keeping Danilo Gallinari healthy (torn ACL), but what can you do?)”
This past season, Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists on 45.3% shooting from the field and 35.3% shooting from behind the three-point line. Meanwhile, Brown averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 47.3% shooting from the field and 35.8% shooting from distance.
Buckley also mentioned the pair’s struggles in the Finals.
Celtics Stars Struggled in NBA Finals
Tatum played poorly in the Finals, and Brown outdueled him a bit, but neither Celtics star played quite up to pay. Buckley stated that this is a hurdle both will have to overcome moving forward.
“Tatum had a rough go of things in the Finals, as he shot just 36.7 percent overall and averaged almost as many field-goal attempts (20) as points (21.5),” said Buckley. “Brown played a superior series, but sometimes his limitations as a ball-handler and playmaker got the better of him. It is, admittedly, a bit nit-picky given the sample size and strength of competition, but the championship ride won’t get any easier going forward, so it’s on them to overcome it.”
If the Celtics want to win it all next year, Tatum and Brown are the keys.