In regard to the former Boston Celtics that jumped ship this offseason, we take a look at those who appear to be thriving with their new organizations.
The 2019-20 Boston Celtics are off to an encouraging start this season and newly acquired point guard Kemba Walker finally showed us why he earned himself a $141 million contract last Saturday vs. the New York Knicks. After two lackluster games to start the year, the All-Star tallied 32 points, five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of action.
The new look Celtics are fitting in and playing well, which raises the question: how are the players that didn’t return from last season faring with their new teams?
To put it simply, after almost a week into the season, these five ex-Celtics are off to great starts with their new franchises.
The most notable Boston Celtics departee this past offseason, Kyrie Irving has had nothing but success to start his career as a Brooklyn Net.
He dropped 50 points in his debut, the most ever by a player in his first game with a new team. He added eight rebounds and seven assists and incredibly enough didn’t record a turnover.
Through three games, Irving is averaging 37.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.7 boards in 34.7 minutes a night.
With the other half of Brooklyn’s new dynamic duo, Kevin Durant, out with injury, Irving will be expected to keep up this tremendous level of play. He’s poised to have a strong season and is proving that he is still a superstar. With that being said, despite Irving’s production, the Nets are 1-2 and will need other players to step up in Durant’s absence.
As the offseason progressed, we all began to realize Kyrie Irving’s time with the Boston Celtics was coming to an end, so the move to Brooklyn didn’t sting quite so bad. What did catch us by surprise, however, was Al Horford‘s decision to sign with Boston’s newly-reclaimed rival, the Philadelphia 76ers.
After anchoring the Boston defense for the past three seasons, Horford joined the team that will be one of Beantown’s biggest competitors in making it out of the Eastern Conference.
Horford wasn’t exactly dominant in the season-opener against the Celtics, recording 16 points and just two rebounds. But in the following game, without Joel Embiid, Horford stepped up big with 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Horford may be just what the Sixers need to finally take that next step, especially with Embiid’s long history of injuries.
Terry Rozier finally got his big break, signing with the Charlotte Hornets this offseason to replace Kemba Walker and take over the starting point guard role. Boston fans saw flashes of what Rozier could do when given the opportunity and now he’s been given the chance to prove that for 82 games.
So far, Rozier is averaging 12.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds a game. He has been a little sluggish to start, but has recorded a double-double and looked impressive with a 19 points, six assist and four rebound stat line in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
While, Scary Terry is not off to the dazzling start that Irving is, he’s putting up quality numbers that prove he’s worthy of a starting position. He’ll get plenty of opportunity to display his talent on a Hornets team that does not have the level of talent that he was used to playing with in Boston.
Marcus Morris Sr.
Marcus Morris Sr. was the third Boston Celtics player to sign with an Atlantic Division foe. He defined himself as a very reliable NBA player last season and has continued his solid contributions thus far as a starter for the New York Knicks.
Morris played great in his debut, scoring 26 points. Since then, however, he has scored 11 points and 12 points, respectively, with foul trouble being a factor in all three contests.
The forward has also seen his playing time decrease in every game thus far, and with a Knicks team loaded with front court players, he will need more games like his debut if he wants to stay in the starting lineup.
Aron Baynes made the furthest journey away from Boston, landing on an up-and-coming Phoenix Suns team this past offseason.
A solid back-up center for the last two seasons, Baynes signed with the plan to be the back-up to Phoenix’s budding star Deandre Ayton. Now, with Ayton facing a 25-game suspension, Baynes has been inserted into the starting line-up and has stepped up big.
In the two games that he has started, the big has averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while still only averaging 26 minutes. It should be noted that the two games in which Baynes has started, the Suns have lost in overtime to the Nuggets and beaten the Clippers.
Boston Celtics fans knew Baynes can be relied on to step up when needed, and he’s once again showing that in Phoenix. Assuming that Ayton’s suspension lasts the expected 25 games, Baynes will have about two more months to prove his worth as a starter.