Yes, the Boston Celtics have been bad. Right now, they are the four seed with a record of 14 and 14. Not only that, but they are also losing to some of the worst teams in the league like the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons. But it's not quite as bad as it looks.
Something consistent in our losing streak has been the absence of Marcus Smart. Smart was injured at the end of January against the Los Angeles Lakers, right before the Celtics started this losing streak. Ever since then, the team has looked lazy. There have been multiple times in close games where it looks like they give up. In those close games, you would see players put their head down, take bad shots, or turn the ball over.
Should you be worried? No. This season has been strange because of all the extra players missing time because of the virus. Jayson Tatum missed five games early this season after a positive test and has shared this statement with the press: “I have experienced some games where [I would] get fatigued a lot quicker than normal.” The whole league is dealing with this. The teams that should be worried, though, are teams who are built to win now, like the Lakers or the Brooklyn Nets, because you don’t want your best player missing time in an important playoff game with a championship on the line. The Celtics are not one of these teams. Jayson Tatum is only 22, and Jaylen Brown is 24. Neither will be a free agent anytime soon (Brown in 2024 and Tatum in 2026).
Should we overreact? No. Are there trades that can help now? Yes. A lot of Celtics fans I’ve talked to are looking at their record and want to trade anyone who isn’t Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, and to that, I say, relax. You don't want to give up on a player too early for an older player that can help win now. Just look at Jaylen Brown: He averaged 6.5 boards in his rookie year. Imagine if we gave up on him. Instead, a trade I think would be more reasonable would be a trade for Andre Drummond. According to ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be sitting Andre Drummond as they plan on trading him. Boston could be a perfect fit for Drummond because of his size and shot blocking. As for what we would give up, it would not be much, honestly. The Cavs need wings who can defend, so a deal revolving around Ojeleye and a future pick should be fine. That makes this trade pretty attractive, considering Boston would not be giving up too much, and Andre Drummond is still relatively young at 27 years old. He will be a free agent next season, but there aren't many teams who are going to need a center who can’t shoot, and even if the Celtics walk away from Drummond, they didn’t give up much for him.
Another trade I’ve been hearing about is John Collins. Collins is one of the best young players in the league right now, so I understand why Celtics fans would want him. He can score at every level, including the three, but trading for him would not be worth it. He is a good, young player; therefore, the Atlanta Hawks are going to want a young talent, as well as multiple picks in return. Not only that, but he will also be a free agent next season, and Boston is likely not going to be able to resign him. He turned down a 90-million-dollar extension expecting a max deal, and there might be a team willing to pay him that money, but probably not—in which case the Celtics would be giving up a lot for half a season of John Collins.
I know as a Boston sports fan you might not be used to losing, but you’re going to just have to take a deep breath, relax, and not overreact this season. Smart has missed a bunch of games, Tatum missed some games, and so has Kemba Walker. If you need some hope to hold on to, then look at the improvement in our younger players. We have seen improvements from Ojeleye, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams, as well as promising rookie seasons from Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith. So just relax: It is too early to overreact.