Every Boston Celtics fan has seen the likes of a Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Kevin Durant, or James Harden dominate a game of basketball. These superstar players will likely continue to do so in the near future. Perhaps (if not most definitely) even in games against our beloved Cs.
But I wanted to look past the stars and focus on the role players that will have us fans screaming at our televisions on a few occasions. Because those are the games that really hurt when the Celtics lock down an opposing superstar and keep them in check just for some guy off the bench to heat up and score 20+ points.
So I’m going to do my best and try to warn y’all of who it will be before it happens:
Boston Celtics potential headache #1: Milwaukee Bucks SG Grayson Allen
This past offseason, the Bucks capitalized on the Grizzlies wanting to trade Grayson Allen before having to pay him, as they acquired him for Sam Merrill and two second-round picks.
Although his stats don’t jump off your screen, Allen is a capable NBA player that can score the ball at all three levels and play solid defense.
Across three seasons, Allen has scored 20 or more points on 12 different occasions, including two games with 30 or more points and one game from his rookie year where he scored 40.
But, in zero of those games was he playing with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton, a few of the most gifted scorers in the league. Meaning, there will be even less focus on Allen as he operates as an off-ball scoring threat.
Not to mention, he’s been playing well enough in the preseason to garner the fifth spot in the starting lineup which means more minutes and more shots.
Boston Celtics potential headache(s) #2: Brooklyn Nets PG Patty Mills/SG Cam Thomas
I’m going to slightly cheat here and put two players only because they’re likely to play similar roles and with Cam Thomas being a rookie, it’s unsure what his playing time will be like on a contending team like the Nets.
Either way, both of these guys were born to score the ball. Since being drafted, Thomas has been lighting teams up across both the Summer League and the preseason, including a couple of game-winners.
Patty Mills on the other hand has been serving buckets across the world for over a decade now. Most recently, basketball fans saw him playing in the Olympics for the Australian national team.
Mills finished second in total points scored for the entire tournament, just three points behind the leader, Luka Doncic. That included a 42-point effort in the bronze medal game against Doncic’s Slovenia team.
So, especially with the recent Kyrie Irving news about the Nets making him ineligible to play for the foreseeable future, all that means is more minutes and more shots for both Mills and Thomas.
Boston Celtics potential headache #3: Philadelphia 76ers PG/SG Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey is one of many second-year players looking to take a leap for their respective team.
Similar to the Kyrie Irving situation with Brooklyn, it’s unsure if/when Ben Simmons will be on the court again for the 76ers, meaning there is a gap to fill at the guard position. Maxey is the best candidate for filling those shoes.
Despite only getting a few chances in his rookie season, Maxey took full advantage of every opportunity.
Early on in the year, Maxey dropped 39 points in a loss to Denver after most of Philadelphia’s roster went down due to health and safety protocols. He then had another 30 point effort in the last game of the year with Philly’s stars out for rest.
Not to mention, he stepped up big in a few playoff games. Maxey averaged a little under 15 points per game when he saw more than 20 minutes of game time in the postseason.
Boston Celtics potential headache #4: Miami Heat SG Tyler Herro
Yes, everyone’s favorite Miami Heat player will also be joining this list, despite having an overall poor campaign last season.
That’s because he has done a complete 180 so far throughout the preseason. He finished with averages of 22.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Herro also shot the ball efficiently with a shooting split of 51/45/89.
Not to mention he was attempting six 3-point attempts a game as well, which would be a career-high for him.
Even looking past the numbers, Herro has looked more poised and comfortable with the ball in his hands. He’s making smarter basketball plays which, when paired with his above-average shot-making, makes him a dangerous player.
Plus, it wouldn’t be the first time Tyler Herro has done damage to the Boston Celtics. Not to mention, he also now has Kyle Lowry to relieve some of the pressure that comes with being a all-handler in the NBA.