Now that the Boston Celtics’ greatest issues have been identified, the Houdini puts its 20/20 hindsight into good use wondering which bigs they should have pursued harder.
No one can say the offseason was a failure for the Boston Celtics based on the early returns the 2020-21 season has provided. At 2-2, there’s nothing wrong with dropping early-season contests to the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets.
On the Pacers’ front, the Cs were able to get their win back last night after dropping Sunday’s contest. Indiana brought back the same core from last season, while Boston has had to adjust to swapping out Kemba Walker for Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup due to the former’s knee injuries.
Regarding Brooklyn, the Cs happened to face the Nets before their season took a massive blow in the form of losing Spencer Dinwiddie. The point guard–one I deemed a Cs “dream target” over a year ago–tore his ACL and is expected to miss the rest of the 2020-21 campaign.
The results so far have been somewhat promising, but the Houdini has identified Daniel Theis as the weak link of the Boston Celtics. My co-editor Mark Nilon has long proposed a double-big lineup, and I support it as well.
There are just certain offseason targets that went elsewhere that I’d rather see in Theis’ role as the team’s starting power forward.
Here are 3 such players:
Christian Wood has been fantastic in his first two games as a member of the Houston Rockets, averaging 27 points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes per contest. The lack of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Gordon obviously thrust Wood into a bigger role, but he has responded admirably.
There is a possibility that Wood could turn out to be the second-best player in Houston behind Harden, and so far the lefty duo seems like a match made in heaven. That the Rockets were able to sign him for roughly $10 million per year is a sign that Danny Ainge didn’t try hard enough to land the big fish. Tristan Thompson was handed a hair under $10 million per year, and Theis could be due for a similar figure when he is up for an extension.
While not having the season Wood is having through the season’s first week, Aron Baynes is proving that the $14 million investment Toronto gave him this past offseason was a safe bet. The Aussie has responded with eight points and seven rebounds in his first two contests.
Adding Baynes for a few million less than Thompson wouldn’t swing the balance that much, but bringing back Baynes would have been a nice reunion story that resulted in quicker results from a chemistry perspective.
If you’re telling me it’s Turner or nothing for Hayward, why would you take nothing?
Taking nothing instead of the exact combo of players you want isn’t principled — It’s greedy.
There’s always more than meets the eye with these sort of situations. Maybe we’re not privy to a major snag in the sign-and-trade that Ainge didn’t (and shouldn’t have) budged on. Perhaps the Boston Celtics had plans to trade Warren and/ or Oladipo for something down the line and they were integral to larger plans.
But with what we know now, this seems like a major failure.
Seeing him drain three of his four 3-point attempts and generally outplay Daniel Theis last night has me fully endorsing this notion.
Perhaps Ainge can right this wrong before it’s too late.