On paper, the Boston Celtics are loaded for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The expectations are sky-high, but with those NBA title predictions come certain pit-falls.
Celtics Beat’s Adam Kaufman had radio play-by-play voice Sean Grande on the show this week to detail what walls may stand in the way of Boston’s freight train to the finals.
“We don’t know what the chemistry is going to be for this group,” warns Kaufman. “If the C’s want to win a title, they’re going to have to sacrifice.”
That was a small theme of last year’s preseason, with the major turnovers and even bigger additions. So, with a presumably healthy roster in Boston, Kaufman proposes this question of willingness to sacrifice to Grande.
“I don’t think it is points. It’s shots,” responds the Celtics radio voice. “Kyrie [Irving] might have the biggest adjustment, because he hasn’t played with Gordon [Hayward] yet.”
Grande goes back to the first few weeks of Irving’s tenure in green, when he was figuring things out and Al Horford looked like the team’s best player. Eventually, though, he zoomed to the forefront and looked the part of bonafide superstar. But what of the dangers of the coming season with a flooded plethora of options for Stevens.
“It’s going to be that off-day story about Kyrie averaging 19 instead of 26. Celtics are doing well, but there’s nothing else to talk about,” Grande predicts. “Kyrie’s not getting his numbers, maybe he’s not happy, and then we’re going down the road.”
This will all tie into the artificial story brought about by Irving’s contract situation, where it made no financial sense for him to sign an extension this offseason.
“How much the Celtics and Kyrie are able to play down free agency situations is interesting,” Grande tells Celtics Beat. “It’s one of the flaws in the CBA, that this situation is forced. … It just creates an artificial opening to write about — if things are going well it’ll be there, and if things aren’t going well it’s going to be even worse.”
Ultimately, Grande doesn’t believe the greed of minutes, shots and prestige are going to befall Boston’s big names. However, those secondary peices, who became top dogs in last season’s run to the brink of a championship series, where do they stand? Will a healthy Hayward and Irving, and hungry and improving Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leave enough table scraps for the like of Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and Aaron Baynes, to name just a few key 2017-18 contributors?
“There’s a pretty clear-cut nine here, but even 10, 11, 12 are solid NBA players,” says Grande. “What about the nights you can’t go small and you need Baynes to play. Where do the minutes go there?
“These are legitimate issues; the Rozier minutes, the Morris minutes, but boy these are a lot better issues to have than ‘how many minutes does Kris Humphrey’s play.’ This is what you’ve done in five years. … I think you can live with it. That’s why you’re on national TV 29 times.