It’s obvious, Boston needs help, and a lot of it. Avery Bradley is set to return soon, and there have been rumors that the Celtics are extremely interested in acquiring DeMarcus Cousins, but is that enough to at least compete in the East? Not a chance. The Celtics have too many issues besides defense and rebounding.
Throughout this season, Boston hasn’t gotten any production off the bench. Many players have disappointed so far, and a team with only Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo carrying most of the weight, Boston has found themselves losing convincingly. Rebounding has always been an issue with this team, but last year that didn’t seem to stop them from being a quarter away from making it to the Finals, or in 2010 being six minutes away from another championship. What is so different about this team that when they try flipping the switch, the light doesn’t turn on?
Starting with the bench: Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Leandro Barbosa have not helped one bit in carrying the load for this team. They are playing well below expectations, and quite honestly, I can’t find an excuse for their struggles. You can say old age has an effect on some of the players, but looking at this team, they are relatively young compared to Celtics teams just a few seasons ago. It’s possible that the age of Garnett and Pierce have hindered them from single-handedly leading the team to victories, but like I said, that didn’t seem to stop Boston last season.
The more obvious problems this team faces is the lack of rebounding and defense. Boston has never been a good rebounding team, but the lack of defensive execution makes it much worse. There was once a time that the Celtics could will themselves to victories, turning their intensity level up a notch in crunch time, but that seems to have faded recently. It’s not that these players have a lack of heart and will to win, but the talent level and chemistry just aren’t there.
So what can be done to make the Celtics a contender in the East once again? The easy answer is to make trades, but the shape that Boston is in, minor trades won’t make a huge impact, and bigger trades involving franchise players could cost the Celtics a few years of a rebuilding period. Ultimately, seeing what happened back in 2006-2007, Danny Ainge needs to press the button and do something now. At the rate Boston is going, they’re slowly declining, becoming more like the teams shortly after Larry Bird retired, they were ok, but not great.
Is DeMarcus Cousins a short term answer? No. The Celtics need production. Jeff Green was suppose to be that guy, but seeing what has happened so far this season, they need to find a replacement and a player who can consistently put up 15-20 points a night.
As we draw closer to the half-way point of the season, something needs to be done, and soon. The Celtics are currently in the 8th spot in the East, and 6.5 games behind the Knicks in the division. Time is running out on the Celtics. When they have trouble facing teams like Milwaukee or even Sacramento, changes have to be made. One thing is for sure, Boston needs help, but in what form will they get it from?