The first five minutes of the Boston Celtics season were good. They had an excellent starting lineup: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. But then, Hayward got hurt–and now it looks like he is going to miss the entire season.
That powerful Celtics lineup won’t be a thing for the rest of the season–and the Celtics have felt the impact early on in the season. Not to jump to any conclusions or anything like that, but they are in a small hole right now at 0-2.
That’s way too small of a sample to judge a season off of, but Hayward was a major reason why the Celtics looked like they could hang with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season (maybe). After all, Hayward was coming off a season where he scored 21.9 points per game last season. He was their big haul. But now, the C’s have Marcus Smart in their lineup instead–someone who really can’t shoot (.357 career field goal percentage).That’s a major downgrade that makes a difference in tight games.
The problem here is easy to diagnose: not only does this mean the Celtics will probably score less points, but it also puts pressure on the two young guys in the lineup (Tatum and Brown) to be big-time point scorers for the team.
The Celtics have made it clear in recent years they like to ease their younger guys into the lineup–like how Brown didn’t play a ton last year. They don’t really have that luxury now if they need points, and it’s unclear how those two will react in those big moments.
There’s definitely reason to be hyped up about this season still. The Celtics do have a quality lineup and could make it to the playoffs. But next year is probably going to be the year where they have to win a title.