I have been looking forward to writing this article all week.
The Celtics have been super disappointing to start this season. As of Nov. 4, they are 4–5. It has been super frustrating to watch them because they just haven’t been very good. As painful as it might’ve been, I've watched every game this season, and I have isolated the three problems.
Jayson and Jaylen Fit
This offseason, the Celtics traded Kemba Walker, which officially made this Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's team. So far this season they have not been great as a duo. They can't figure out how to have a great game at the same time. Either Jayson has a great game or Jaylen does, but rarely do they both have a great game. Brown has been the better of the two, at least so far this season. His scoring has jumped up again to 27. Jayson on the other hand has been really struggling. He is only averaging 24, which is low for what Tatum can do. His 24 points are even inflated because of his one amazing 41-point game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Don’t get used to this from Tatum because it is not going to last. Tatum is one of the most frustrating players to watch right now because he is usually so good at hitting tough shots. One second you can be yelling at him through your television for taking a contested sidestep three, and the next second he is hitting that same shot to win the game. Right now, he is just not hitting those shots, but you could expect those shots to start to fall as the season moves forward.
Right now, it seems as though, if the Celtics want to win against a good team, both Jaylen and Jayson need to get 30 points, and even that might not be enough. This is because our role players haven’t been able to create their own shots consistently. Neither Jayson nor Jaylen are great playmakers, so they need a third guy who can create their own shot. Last season this was Kemba Walker. Yes, Walker struggled with staying healthy, and he did not play up to his max contract but, when he was on the floor, Boston had another person that can create for himself. Marcus Smart said it best in a press conference after the Bulls game, “Every team knows we are trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen.” In the offseason, they picked up Josh Richardson to help with this, and he hasn’t so far. He is only averaging six points this season. Another player that I had hoped would help in the scoring department is Payton Pritchard. Pritchard is only averaging two points per game after a really solid rookie year. He hasn’t gotten a ton of minutes to be fair, but last year I became a fan because he wasn’t scared to shoot the ball and create for himself.
The Celtics have a roster on paper that should be elite. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford have all been known as amazing defenders throughout their careers, however, this season hasn’t been great. A lot of the defensive problems have honestly come from a lack of effort. Against the Bulls, they essentially gave up playing defensive in the fourth quarter because they were up by 20; they ended up losing this game by 14. In the eight games played, they’ve already been to five overtime periods. This is because their effort is still not there. Against the Miami Heat, this was not the case. They played great defense and they were able to win by 20. They are going to need their defense to be stellar all season if they want to continue to compete with the teams like the Heat.