There is a laundry list of to-dos for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics’ newly-minted front office after the C’s disappointing 2020-21 season. They need to clean up the books, bring in some fresh talent and savvy veterans to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lead the franchise back to the promised land. This article will be outlining that laundry list and how it pertains to maximizing Tatum and Brown.
The first thing to do to identify the personnel the Cs need to acquire is to identify who they are acquiring it for. That would be Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown obviously but the Celtics’ front office needs to do more than just identify who they are surrounding with talent. They need to get to know who they are as players and people, they need to ask themselves who is Jayson Tatum? Who is Jaylen Brown? What do they need to succeed?
Let’s start by answering those first two questions.
Jayson Tatum is a top-12 player in the NBA that combines elite 3-point shooting with a newfound finishing ability and developing an in-between game to score at all three levels and put the fear of God in defense’s eyes when he’s got it going.
He’s figured out how to read the first and sometimes the second level of defenses and he is an adept skip passer. His touch, processing speed, and accuracy are a work in progress, but given his role, it is passable enough for the Boston Celtics to succeed with him as their best player.
He’s one of the 15 best defenders in the NBA, specializing in help defense from the baseline and nail. He uses his long arms to blow up actions and disrupt the opponent’s drives and he’s becoming better and better on the ball every single day.
Tatum has been known to learn on the fly, seemingly putting together everything he worked on in the off-season and more at random times in the regular season and post-season. That’s who Tatum is, and Celtics fans should thank Danny Ainge every day for drafting him and signing him long-term.
Jaylen Brown is a top-8 shooting guard in the NBA that is an elite point-of-attack defender and one of the most resilient scorers in the NBA. His off-ball defensive woes have been well documented in the past and should be a point of emphasis for his off-season training but for now, Brown’s defensive specialty is on-ball.
Brown is very versatile at six-foot-six and 220lbs, having no issue guarding positions 1-4. He leverages his strength and speed depending on the opponent and he has a knack for picking pockets.
On offense, Brown’s scoring steals the show. He shoots 68% at the rim, 43% from midrange, 39.7% from 3, and overall is 1.5% above league average TS%. He is a very good off-ball player that’s dynamic off of cuts and can relocate around the perimeter like a movement shooter, hitting 43.1% of his catch and shoot triples.
On-ball, Brown’s handle, and pace have taken tremendous strides, allowing him to weave in and out of traffic and blow by defenders. He has a lightning-quick first step and gets off the ground quickly. His passing and playmaking are a work in progress, to say the least.
Brown showed signs of making the right readout of traps, doubles, or when he was sealed off at the rim but that’s about it. His decision-making is hit or miss and it’s always very slow. As a second option, Brown doesn’t need to become Lebron in terms of playmaking, but it would help if he became even an average playmaker.
Those two guys are who the Boston Celtics are hoping to bring them banner #18. Both are locked in for the next few seasons and have shown no signs of wanting out soon but that does not mean the C’s should sit back and let them suffer from poor rosters.
They need a championship-caliber roster around them now and this off-season is the perfect time to do just that. The foundation to every championship-caliber roster (outside of the stars) is competent big men play. Even though Tristan Thompson has his moments, he is not a good enough backup to Robert Williams to facilitate the C’s to reach the biggest stage and needs to go this off-season.
His inability to stretch the floor, ball-stopping, and lackluster ability on the perimeter hurt the flow of the Celtics’ offense and defense throughout the season. Stevens should look to shred his $9.5 million expiring deal for minor draft capital and or a low-level role player.
With that addressed, let’s look at a few potential bigs the Boston Celtics could pursue this offseason: