The short answers are: not great and unimpressed. I guess it was too much to ask for the Boston Celtics to come out firing at the beginning of the season with two former All-Stars returning to their lineup in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The team is currently 6th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-10 record. Staring up at teams like the Pacers, Pistons, Sixers, and Bucks really makes me nauseous. The number 1 seeded Toronto Raptors are the only team that I think is truly better than the Celtics right now. But a lot of fans know that the Raptors have been a decent regular season team (even without their new additions in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green) but cannot put together a long playoff run.
The major problem for the Celtics at the moment is that there are too many players in the rotation. This has caused players to become disgruntled about their roles and playing time. Especially with players (see: Terry Rozier) who think they are better than they actually are.
Terry Rozier is a better version of Dennis Shroder but with a much larger ego. Other teams around the NBA value Rozier at a lot higher value which is why it would be ideal if Rozier was included in a trade before the deadline. Boston fell in love with Rozier down the stretch last season but if we are putting our hearts aside, it would be best to move on from him.
Even Gordon Hayward has caused some problems in the rotation because he does not look like the top 25 player we all thought he once was. He started early on in the season but has since been moved to the bench by coach Brad Stevens. Hayward is only averaging 11.2 PPG, 5.5 REB, and 3.5 assists per game this season. A far departure from averaging 21 points a game in his season before getting injured with the Celtics.
I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on Hayward coming off an injury that took him a whole season to recover from. But he was also rubbing it in our faces on Instagram about how “ready” he was for this season. It is more disheartening because the lapse in Hayward’s play seems to be because of mental fog rather than physical adjustments needing to be made. He has looked very sluggish and unsure of himself at times.
In addition to the team chemistry issues, the Celtics have just flat out lost to bad teams during this 23 game stretch as well. The most notable losses came against the Knicks and Mavericks which are two teams are going nowhere this season and for the foreseeable future.
The good news is there is a fair amount of time to correct their issues before crunch time really begins. There is no doubt the Celtics will make the playoffs but if they do not gel and sacrifice for the betterment of the team, they will not even sniff the Eastern Conference Finals let alone the NBA Finals.