NBA Writer Believes Celtics ‘Already Regretting’ Roster Decisions

Celtics already regretting roster moves

Getty General manager Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics.

While many NBA teams spent the offseason making splash moves, the Boston Celtics stayed fairly under the radar.

The most notable roster decision Danny Ainge and company made was moving off of forward Gordon Hayward after an injury-riddled three-year run in Massachusetts. They also locked up All-Star Jayson Tatum for the long-haul on a five-year, rookie max extension.

As for additions to the roster, the Celtics seemingly upgraded at key positions without breaking the bank. The team swapped out Enes Kanter for free agent signee Tristan Thompson at center, while Jeff Teague took over as Boston’s backup point guard, as the team let Brad Wanamaker walk.

However, the return on investment from both Thompson and to a lesser degree, Teague, has left many Celtics fans wanting more and Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes believing Boston “should already be questioning their additions in 2020 free agency.”

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Celtics ‘Already Regretting’ Tristan Thompson Signing?

Thompson, 29, inked a two-year $19 million deal this offseason and has quickly made his presence felt on the boards, namely on the offensive end. Thompson’s work on the glass has aided Boston to own the NBA’s fourth-highest offensive rebounds per game average with 11.3. Yet, while Thompson’s ability to create second-chance opportunities has carried over to his new stomping grounds, his lackluster play defending the rim has become a serious issue for Boston, as Hughes highlighted in his column where he listed the Celtics among four NBA teams “already regretting their 2020 free-agency pickups“:

Opponents are feasting at the rim with Thompson in the game, getting to close range more often and converting at alarming rates. Inside six feet, players are hitting 74.4 percent of their shots with Thompson as the primary defender. That’s the fifth-highest hit rate allowed in the league among players who’ve defended at least 40 total attempts. Among bigs, only Enes Kanter, Paul Millsap and Marvin Bagley III have been worse deterrents.

While Boston has since moved off of their clunky early-season starting lineup of both Thompson and Daniel Theis in the frontcourt, Thompson’s floor spacing abilities, or rather lack thereof, adds nothing to the team’s offensive fluidity. Which would be okay were he serving as a prominent piece on the defensive end. Yet, as Hughes put it, “If he isn’t helping the interior defense, it’s hard for him to make a positive impact.”


Examining Teague’s ‘Unproductive’ Play

Moving to the backcourt, Hughes shifted his focus to point guard Jeff Teague, noting that while the 32-year-old looked “fantastic” early on, he’s been rather “unproductive outside of some hot, low-volume three-point shooting.”

Teague came out guns blazing in the opening game of the season. The former All-Star looked worth every bit of his one-year $2.5 million deal, dropping 19 points and adding four assists in a one-point victory over Eastern Conference foes, the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, Teague’s production has fallen off rapidly, as has his usage. His 25 minutes vs. Milwaukee remains a season-high for the point guard, who has averaged less than 15 minutes per game in three of his last four contests. 

Teague’s dip in playing time coincides with increased looks for rookie revelation Payton Pritchard, who has carved out a sizeable role in Boston’s backcourt. With Kemba Walker recently returning to the court and eventually easing off his minute restriction, it will be interesting to see how the Celtics deploy Teague moving forward. 

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