Boston Celtics’ biggest preseason disappointments

Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It’s hard to see how preseason could have gone any better for the Boston Celtics. Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday look as good as advertised. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown look like they can take over whenever they want to. Payton Pritchard asserted himself as Boston’s seventh man. The Celtics saw some intriguing promise from the likes of Svi Myukhailiuk and Neemias Queta.

The list goes on. What stood out from the Celtics as a team is that they looked like a team hellbent on revenge against the world after fumbling a golden opportunity last season.

But yeah, there were a few disappointments. Few being the operative word. While these said disappointments shouldn’t pose much cause for concern, they were worth noting because the Boston Celtics may have to depend on some of these players should the injury bug manifest itself.

Luke Kornet did not put much worry to rest in Boston Celtics frontcourt

After the Celtics traded away Robert Williams, Grant Williams, Mike Muscala, and Danilo Gallinari, Luke Kornet suddenly became the Celtics’ clear-cut option as their third center. Factoring in his familiarity and past production, Kornet had played well enough to warrant a flyer in the role but not well enough to put fans at ease knowing he’s the one playing behind Porzingis and Al Horford.

As far as first impressions go, Kornet didn’t exactly do much to help his case as the Celtics’ third center. Besides the fact that most of his points came from dunks, Kornet racked up three turnovers in 13 minutes of action in the Celtics preseason debut against the 76ers. Even if his ball security was much better after that, his lacking performance overall did not quell the fears of the fanbase. So much so that fans are now calling for Kornet’s head on a platter.

Should the Boston Celtics get rid of The Green Kornet? Of course not. Regarding roster security, Kornet’s place on the team is safe. He’s proven that he can step up when guys are out. Brad Stevens and Joe Mazzulla have previously vocalized their faith in him, and they haven’t signaled any belief to the contrary. Kornet doesn’t have to be necessarily a plus when he takes the floor. He simply has to keep the boat steady when he does.

Oshae Brissett was outshined by other Boston Celtics during the preseason

What exactly do you have to prove when you’re signed primarily because of your reputation as an energy player with a defensive edge and not much to boast about offensively? Oshae Brissett lived up to his billing during the preseason. Plus, to be fair, he had his moments.

But he didn’t have any standout performance like Mykhailiuk, Queta, or Dalano Banton did. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that Lamar Stevens looked better than Brissett in the preseason. Stevens, who plays the same position as Brissett with a similar reputation, looked like a malleable small-ball five the Celtics could potentially develop with the surprising offensive prowess he displayed.

Perhaps Brissett wasn’t necessarily motivated to show off what he could do offensively since his spot was never in danger. In Stevens’ case, he had everything to prove to the Boston Celtics, and they took notice from the looks of things.

Looking at his social media posts, Brissett can certainly talk the talk, but with the preseason over, he has to show that he can walk the walk.

Dalano Banton failed to capitalize on an exciting performance

Banton’s length, passing, and feel around the rim made him an intriguing prospect for the Boston Celtics. During the preseason, he simultaneously proved why the Celtics thought he was worth giving a spot to and why the Raptors decided to move on from him.

Bantonmania peaked after his performance against the Knicks on October 9, showing some touch around the basket, drawing contact for and-1s, and flashing some potential shooting-wise outside of the paint.

But outside of that one performance, Banton’s preseason was nothing to write home about. In those four other games combined, Banton put up 14 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists while shooting five-for-seventeen from the field. All in 57 minutes of playing time. This is nothing unusual for Banton, as he showed his potential when he was with the Raptors.

But failing to find consistency in his two years in Toronto led to their decision to part ways. That and Banton was a long and athletic non-floor-spacer on a roster filled with long and athletic non-floor-spacers.

To go with his offensive touch in the paint for someone his size, Banton’s handle and passing abilities make him an interesting development project for the Boston Celtics. Per MassLive’s Brian Robb, Banton will likely be on the opening night roster. Whether he can find his footing as a Celtic could determine whether he stays on the roster.

There was some temptation to include Jordan Walsh’s lack of playing time in the preseason, but that’s not on him nor the Celtics. Fans were excited to see what he could do since he will kick off the C’s first rookie class since 2020. But his role on the team would never expected to be pivotal given his inexperience and the fact that the Celtics added several players who play his position.

Again, the Celtics preseason results only amplified their hype for the 2023-24 season. If Luke Kornet, Oshae Brissett, and Dalano Banton were the most concerning players to worry about, then that further demonstrates how much things are looking up for Boston.