Not much Irish luck for the Celtics

Not much Irish luck for the Celtics
May 16
00:30 2019

The Boston Celtics were ousted out of the 2019 NBA playoffs in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks 4 games to 1. This was not the ending many experts or fans expected the Celtics to have this season. Boston has some changes to make if they hope to maximize all the young talent they have acquired over the last few seasons.

First and foremost, they must find out what Kyrie Irving is going to do this summer. Irving has the option to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. Honestly, after the year of dysfunction they just went through, I am not so sure the Celtics would mind Irving opting out.

The Celtics made it all the way to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season, losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They accomplished this feat without the services of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, both lost to season-ending injuries prior to the playoffs. 

With Hayward and Irving healthy to begin this season, many felt it was almost a given that Boston would at least make it to the NBA Finals and challenge any team that came from the Western Conference. Let’s also remember that Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier had their coming out parties during that run as well.

I am not going to exclude myself from the group that thought Boston had the east wrapped up before the season even started. My thinking was with the way Tatum, Rozier, Jaylen and Brown performed in the 2017-18 playoffs, adding a healthy Irving and Hayward to the mix would bring the necessary veteran leadership this team needed.

Instead of adding to the chemistry the team built last year, it seemed Irving and Hayward caused several young players to regress and the team never looked like a cohesive unit at any point this year. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the NBA and if anyone could find a way to make it work, I thought it would be him.

Out of all the people involved in this scenario, Danny Ainge, Celtics general manager, must be feeling the most pressure. Boston is one of the two most historic franchises in the league. Ainge has also done well with trading players and acquiring draft picks. To his credit, he has drafted well over the last few years, but the question is whether or not he made the right moves with his veteran pickups.

There is no way Ainge can survive if this group of players doesn’t bring home another championship, or at least make a few trips to the finals. Boston fans are not used to losing, so Ainge must find a way to get it done, especially since LeBron has moved out of the conference.

I was never quite sure why the team decided to bring in Hayward in the first place. I felt the young talent they had with Brown, Tatum and Marcus Smart, adding another wing scorer seemed like it would be too crowded for everyone to get minutes. I thought a better addition would have been to bring in a sharpshooter from three-point range to go along with the athletic wing players they already had in the fold.

Al Horford also has a player option in his contract to opt out after the season. Horford is the glue that keeps this team together. He is an underrated player that doesn’t do anything great, but does everything well. If I am Boston, I do not let him get away. 

Boston also has several teams in the conference to deal with now as well. Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Toronto, all are very good teams that could become even better with all the top-notch free agents coming available this off season.  I still think Boston has the talent to compete with the best. The question is, are they going to put the right pieces in place to get them over the top?

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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