Celtics – Pelicans Preview: Boston’s Match-up From Hell

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 Where Will The Scoring Comes From?

Well, the trade that we all knew was coming has been officially announced, and the Celtics begin life without Jeff Green:

Not surprisingly, life without Uncle Jeff (which unofficially began last Friday in Indianapolis) is not good.  Of course, life WITH him wasn’t exactly a huge success, either, but please recall that at one point this season, the Celtics had a top-five offense.  Their scoring per game sill ranks among the league’s top ten at 102.4 PPG . . . but the days of scoring over 100 points per contest are over.  I expect Boston’s scoring average to be in the 90s by the first week of February.

Green was good for nearly 18 points a game, but his absence now leaves small forward Jared Sullinger as Boston’s top scorer with 13.4 PPG.  There are only two other players on Boston’s roster now who average double-digit scoring per game: Avery Bradley (13.2 PPG) and Kelly Olynyk (11.4).

Give Bradley credit: in the two games that Green has sat out, he has scored 40 points, and has actually scored 20 points or more three times in his last six games, compared to reaching 20 only twice in the 28 games prior.   Clearly, Bradley, Sullinger and Olynyk will need to should more of the load offensively, but the Celtics need more than three players to score on any given night.

Enter rookies Marcus Smart and James Young.  With the Celtics stockpiling draft picks, it’s obvious that there is a youth movement going down in Beantown. Even if Danny Ainge flips a handful of draft picks into a trade that brings a solid (dare I dream, All-Star?) player into Boston, the keys to the kingdom are being handed to the likes of Smart and Young.  Smart has proven his worth to the team on the defensive end, and Young has shown flashes of offensive prowess, but it’s officially time for both of these kids to grab the bull by the horns, live life to the fullest . . . you get what I mean.

Next: My Prediction