Why the Celtics should/shouldn’t make a move at the NBA trade deadline
The Boston Celtics have perfectly personified the phrase “new year, new me” except in this case, it’s not in a good way. After a strong 30 games or so to start the season, the Boston Celtics find themselves in a bit of a rut.
In the nine games the Celtics have played in 2020, the team is 4-5 and have lost five of their last seven games. Not only that but, Boston has routinely played down to inferior competition and failed to show up against playoff-caliber teams.
Even in the games they’ve won, Boston has looked unimpressive aside from a 140-point showing against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Take a look at the team’s last two games: against the Detroit Pistons, Boston held a halftime lead only to fall apart in the second half allowing the Pistons to shoot an astounding 60.3 percent from the floor. In the following game, the Celtics were clearly outmatched by the Milwaukee Bucks. A late comeback effort made the game seem closer than it actually was and now, Boston has slipped to the third seed in the East with Toronto, Indiana and Philadelphia quickly rising.
So, with the NBA trade deadline approaching, the question persists: Do the Boston Celtics need to make a move at the deadline?
That question seems to have come up for about the past three or so years yet Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has opted to stay pat. This year, however, despite the talent on the roster, it’s clear that the Celtics are missing something.
Maybe it’s recency bias and the team’s recent poor play has influenced my thoughts but if the Celtics once again do nothing at the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team head for an early exit in the playoffs.
Enes Kanter has been a great (and cheap) addition to the Celtics roster. The 27-year-old is one of the best rebounders in the league and has a developed post game. However, defensive lapses prevent Kanter from being an All-Star caliber big man.
Daniel Theis is a great role player, he’s a good defender and rebounder but at 6-foot-9, he’s undersized and will be outplayed by bigger centers come playoff time. I get that small ball is the new “thing” in the NBA but when the Celtics are out there playing 6-foot-6 rookie Grant Williams at the five, it’s clear the Celtics could use an infusion of size.
Boston is in desperate need for a big, defensive-minded big. Players like Andre Drummond and Steven Adams have floated around and both, while likely expensive would benefit Boston and help fix their biggest weakness.
Another part of the roster that could use improvement is the scoring in the second unit. Kanter, Wanamaker, Marcus Smart, and Semi Ojeleye have all had their moments but the team needs a pure scorer and shooter to boost the second unit.
It’s a role that both Romeo Langford and Carsen Edwards could fill in the future but, as of now, the two rookies are clearly not ready for heavy NBA minutes. Maybe the Celtics go out and sign veteran sixth man and free agent Jamal Crawford as he has proven to excel in these kinds of roles. Other than Crawford, there are plenty of role players that the Celtics can pursue.
I’d imagine that Boston doesn’t want to disrupt the core of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown but other than that, the Celtics have multiple valuable trade pieces and two first-round picks in the upcoming draft (which includes a possible top 15 selection from the Memphis Grizzlies.)
Fans aren’t happy with the product they’re seeing on the court. The Celtics simply arent playing like a top-caliber playoff team and while every team goes through cold stretches, a change, while risky, is exactly what Boston needs.