2-3 is no reason to freak out and throw everything not nailed down overboard, but it’s certainly not the record Boston Celtics fans were hoping for through the first five games of the season.
Not when they include losses to the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors, two teams that are far from locks for the postseason by any stretch.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have had a few bad games, with Tatum’s off-night coming during the C’s narrow 2OT opening night loss to the New York Knicks at MSG, and Brown’s coming during the team’s other two losses to the aforementioned Wizards and Raptors.
That said, they’re not the reason why the Cs have struggled. And it isn’t even fair to point the finger at Marcus Smart, who owns shooting splits of 25% from the field and 23% from the 3-point line.
Instead, it’s the underperformance of key bench acquisitions leaving the Cs over-reliant on their starters and youth.
Admirably, third-year big Grant Williams has been able to step up and deliver consistency as a spot-up shooter, but Josh Richardson and Juan Hernangomez–two players brought on specifically to thrive in an off-ball role alongside the ‘Jays’–have not.
For Richardson, efficiency hasn’t been as much of a problem (45% from 3-point line) as much as inactivity has been. Averaging a career-low 17 minutes per game, Richardson has shot the ball just twice in his last 30 minutes of floor-time. He failed to hoist up a single shot attempt during last night’s 116-107 loss to the Wizards.
For Hernangomez, he simply hasn’t been able to outplay his contemporaries for minutes on the hardwood. Not only has Grant Williams outplayed him, but even Jabari Parker has moved ahead of him on the depth chart the past two games.
With these two struggling and perhaps even playing their way out of Boston given President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens’ love of the trade, Hardwood Houdini has come up with this deal to return a starting point guard:
Why the Boston Celtics do it
Marcus Smart’s assist numbers are down in 2021-22 but it’s early. Still, it’d be more comforting to have another veteran tasked with the floor general role…especially one like Goran Dragic, a key piece of the 2020 Miami Heat NBA Finals run.
Dragic has already said negative things about playing in Toronto, so a move to a major market and historical franchise like the Celtics would be a welcome one for Dragic, who’s averaging his lowest minutes per game since his rookie season with the Raptors.
Dragic is a steady hand who has thrived alongside other point guards (particularly in Phoenix with Eric Bledsoe), making the fit alongside both Smart and Dennis Schroder a smooth one. The ‘Dragon’ would be a a slick get by Stevens and co.
Why the Toronto Raptors do it
Toronto has an identical record to Boston right now, and probably doesn’t need Dragic on board to make a surprising run to the postseason.
So why not cash in on a future draft pick and get another switchable swingman in Josh Richardson for their troubles?