So by now, Celtics fans have come to the realization that Kyrie Irving is out for the year and that their title hopes are gone. The rest of the season and the upcoming postseason is now about the development of the young players like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. When we look back on the 2018 season for the Celtics, it will be remembered as “what if”. But that’s all the reason more why the Celtics NEED to bring this core back next year. And when I say everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE.
Starting with free agents, Greg Monroe/Aron Baynes are unrestricted free agents and Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent. Everyone else is under contract going into next season. While Smart, Baynes, and Monroe are not essential championship pieces, they do make the Celtics that much better. Monroe has only been with the team for a few months but has made a big impact by scoring in the low post. Baynes adds rebounding and post defense. They also makes the Celtics a lot bigger, which is something they lack. Smart of course is one of the best defenders in all of basketball and one of the better back up guards in the league. But how much will he ask for? If we can get Smart for at $12 million a year, it’s worth it to bring him back. Anything over and the Celtics won’t match.
However, the most important thing for the Celtics this offseason is to not do anything. Yep, stay put! The Celtics were not healthy for a single game this season. In the 5 minutes that All-Star forward Gordon Hayward played this season, Marcus Morris was out due a knee injury. So the Celtics were truly never healthy. Now at full strength, Morris in the month of March averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds, and shot 47% from 3. He was supposed to by the 7th man and he looks like a damn All-Star. This is what the depth chart would look like next year.
PG: Kyrie Irving—Terry Rozier—Shane Larkin
SG: Jaylen Brown—Marcus Smart—Jabari Bird
SF: Gordon Hayward—Marcus Morris—Semi Ojeleye
PF: Jayson Tatum—Daniel Theis—Guerschon Yabusele
C: Al Horford—Greg Monroe—Aron Baynes
That team has talent, youth, experience, and depth. Everything you need for a championship caliber team. If Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard are available for a trade, it will be hard for the Celtics to pass up. But I truly believe that if this Celtic team is healthy, they can win the NBA Finals. Just imagine next year. Gordon Hayward will be fully healthy, Jaylen Brown & Jayson Tatum will have another year of experience, and Coach Brad Stevens will know these players like the back of his hand. I like my title odds next year and you should too.
Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)