I’m pretty sure we have all done this as fans.
Success during the early part of the season gives us this fuzzy feeling in our stomachs that makes us feel like our team is unstoppable. This rush of joy then materializes into speculation about what our favorite team is capable of. We start telling our friends why so-and-so will do such-and-such based on a few games.
Luckily for you, I can relate to this. I have been known to overreact and babble about my unrealistic expectations for hours on end. So, you can be assured that this red-hot start for the Celtics has given me A LOT to talk about and I am going to share it all with you.
Listen, I realize all of these are far-fetched, but can’t a guy dream!
Without further ado, here are 3 totally unrealistic expectations for the Celtics.
Jaylen Brown will average 20 PPG
Of all of my unrealistic expectations, this is the one I’m most upset will not come true. But like anything, there’s always a chance.
Brown has topped scored 20 points in 3 of the Celtics games this season. In 3 others, he has come up just short at 18. That means in over half of the C’s games this season, Brown has either scored, or come one bucket short of 20 points.
The reason for this increase in scoring is a direct result of Brown’s improvement in all areas of his offense.
He’s attacking the rim and converting at a higher level than last season. Brown is currently making 62% of his shots within 3 feet of the rim, making him a constant threat when around the basket. He’s also seen a substantial improvement in his 3-point shooting.
Last season Brown struggled with the 3 making just 34% of his shots, but that hasn’t been the case this year. The 21-year old is currently hitting 42% of his attempts, while taking nearly 4 times as many shots as he did in 2016-17.
The one glaring hole in Brown’s game is his free-throw shooting. So far this year, he has mightily struggled at the line. Brown is converting on just 56% of his shots from the charity stripe, while attempting over 4 a game. However, as Brown continues to get reps at the free-throw line, I fully expect him to hit more of his attempts.
Brown is averaging 15.8 points through the first 10 games of the season, but as the year progresses and he becomes more accustomed to his role, don’t be surprised if he ups that total by 5 or more points.
Therefore, my unrealistic expectation for Jaylen Brown is that he will average 20 points per game this year.
Jayson Tatum will be Rookie of the Year
This rookie class is jam-packed with elite talent. From Dennis Smith to Ben Simmons and everyone in between, it’s going to be tough for Tatum to be the ROTY — but that’s why it’s called an unrealistic expectation, right?
Tatum has been just as advertised for the C’s. He’s an extremely polished offensive scorer who thrives in the midrange. His extremely vast offensive arsenal already includes pull-ups, hesitations, fadeaways and so much more. What many scouting reports didn’t say was how good of a 3-point shooter he is.
This season Tatum has shot a total of 34 3-pointers and converted on 18 of them, which puts him
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at 52% from beyond the arc. Tatum’s ability to shoot the long-ball has been key for the Celtics to space out opposing defenses.
Altogether Tatum has been great for the Celtics offensively averaging 13.6 points per game and playing well-above his years.
His defense has also been impressive thus far. While he was not touted as a great defender coming out of college, Tatum has been really good in his first 11 games. So far in his career he has to defended the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James, playing each admirably. He has a solid 98 defensive rating per 100 possessions and has the 4th highest defensive win shares in the league.
So, let me get this straight — Jayson Tatum is a rookie who is excelling at every level of the game? Sounds like a Rookie of the Year candidate to me.
Kyrie Irving will be on the All-Defensive Team
If I wrote that Kyrie Irving would be on All-Defensive Team in ANY article last season everyone would have laughed in my face. Now, this is probably the expectation that has the highest chance to be true.
Irving has always been a force on the offensive end of the court, but now he’s proving his worth defensively. For the first time in his career, Irving is giving effort on defense.
Irving currently ranks fourth among players in defensive rating who play an average of 30 minutes or more. His 95.5 rating actually ranks first among guards with similar minutes.
“Uncle Drew” also averages the 3rd most steals per game in the league at 2.2. His active hands and quickness have been on full display so far this year as he feasts on opponents passing lanes. This has translated into a career-best 35.8 steal percentage.
His 0.07 defensive win shares puts him at 7th in the league for the time being. Just to get a sense of how much of an improvement that is from last season, Irving had just 0.024 DWS. This ranked 168th in the league. Wow.
With Irving excelling on defense, maybe it isn’t unrealistic to expect him to be All-Defense. As of now, it actually seems more realistic than not.