The Boston Celtics are hitting their stride. With a 116-83 blowout victory over the Orlando Magic on February 6, the Cs have now rallied off a season-high five consecutive victories as they continue to maneuver their way up the Eastern Conference ranks.
Once perceived as potential sellers at the deadline, Boston now finds themselves squarely in the thick of things in the East, which could lead to some reshuffling of the cards ahead of February 10 to better align them for a playoff push. One area in particular that the Celtics could benefit from is a boost on the offensive end — more specifically from beyond the arc. After ranking within the top-11 of teams in 3-point shooting a year ago, Boston’s 34.1% shooting percentage from deep is the ninth-worst in basketball this season.
That type of spotty consistency explains why the team appears so gung-ho on landing guard Malik Beasley at the deadline.
Celtics Continue to Be Linked to Beasley
First, it was The Athletic’s Jared Weiss who reported on February 2 that the Celtics had previously explored a trade that would have shipped Josh Richardson and one of their young wings (either Romeo Langford or Aaron Nesmith) to Minnesota for Beasley. Ultimately, the Timberwolves opted to stay put, preferring to retain Beasley in hopes of finding a bigger move down the line.
Turns out, that bigger move may also include Boston. On a February 3 airing of Skor North’s “Mackey & Judd,” KSTP’s Darren Wolfson revealed that Minnesota is “definitely” trying to acquire Celtics guard Marcus Smart at the deadline.
As far as what it would actually take to land Smart — who is Boston’s longest-tenured player — in a trade with the Celtics, Wolfson noted that “unless (the Timberwolves) include a first-round pick or Jaden McDaniels in addition to Malik Beasley, (a deal) most likely doesn’t get done.”
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Outlook on Beasley & McDaniels
Beasley, 25, is currently enduring what some might categorize as a down year. His 12.3 points per game average and 35.2% 3-point percentage are both the lowest output since he joined the Timberwolves midway through the 2019-20 season. Having said that, Beasley is a player who’s proven to be a sniper for most of his career, knocking down at least 39.9% of threes in three of his last four years. Just last season, the Florida State product averaged 19.6 points per game while shooting 39.9% from 3-point range.
McDaniels, who measures in at 6-foot-9-inches, is a 21-year-old power forward that would theoretically help fill Boston’s rumored interest in beefing up their reserve frontcourt. While the former No. 28 overall pick may be averaging just 8.4 points per game in his second pro season, McDaniels has scored at least 10 points in five of his last seven contests, including 22 points in a blowout victory over the Utah Jazz on January 30.
Of course, the major caveat here for the Celtics is the thought of surrendering Smart. While Beasley would clearly serve as an upgrade offensively over the starting point guard, Smart is a menace on the defensive end, a leader in Boston’s locker room and a pivotal reason why Boston is surging.