June 12, 2019, 2:17 am
Celtics fans, including myself, had one of the roughest seasons to deal with out of any fanbase in the NBA. Aside from the Lakers and Knicks, the Celtics saw their organization and season crumble the most. How many times can one say “Give it time they are still adjusting” until they realize that the team is just not going to succeed?
Countless excuses were made. Whether it was “Hayward is still rusty” or “They will be a different team in the playoffs,” Celtics fans always had something to say until their season was actually over.
That is when reality set in.
The 2018-19 season was supposed to be THE year for the Celtics. The infamous picture of Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown around Kyrie Irving holding a basketball was the dream heading into the season. Many would see this picture and think that this team would win the Eastern Conference since they pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the ECF the year prior with a worse squad.
However, “worse” was only a subjective term in reality as everything regressed aside from the skills of the individuals themselves. The words I said after the Game 7 loss in the 2018 ECF were “We were missing two All-Stars. Just wait until next season.”
All of that waiting just to be disappointed by the lack of results and regression in team success. The expectation was 65 wins and an NBA Finals appearance, but they ended up with a second-round exit and just 49 wins. There were no serious injuries for them to hide behind. They just failed.
Disappointment. Failure. Underwhelming. Gloomy.
These terms are not even enough to sum up the let down that was the 2018-19 season for the Celtics.
The Celtics had a team full of star power, but the lack of chemistry on and off the court made the 2018-19 season a living hell.
The dream lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford was used in 21 games for 145 total minutes. In those minutes, they had a net rating of minus-1.4. Their offensive rating was 93.2 and their defensive rating was 94.6, so obviously they were much better on the defensive end of the floor. However, this lineup did not pass the ball well with a 59.7% assist percentage and just a 1.82 assist-to-turnover ratio. They also did not shooting the ball at a high percentage as they had a 49.5% effective field goal percentage.
The “Dream Lineup” was not effective when on the court together at all, which made things more difficult for Brad Stevens and his rotation. The Celtics used one lineup significantly more than any other, which was their starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris and Al Horford. That lineup had a net rating of plus-6.0, which is solid considering the sample size. The rotations were shaken up all season long, which was primarily due to performance struggles and chemistry issues.
2017-18 record: 55-27 (2nd seed)
2018-19 record: 49-33 (4th seed)
Offensive Rtg: 112.2 (10th)
Defensive Rtg: 107.8 (7th)
Net Rtg: +4.4 (6th)
Pace: 99.6 (16th)
Rebounds Per Game: 44.5 (22nd)
Assists Per Game: 26.3 (5th)
Steals Per Game: 8.6 (4th)
Blocks Per Game: 5.3 (9th)
Turnover Percentage: 11.5% (5th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: 53.4% (6th)
3-Point Percentage: 36.5% (7th)
Attendance Per Game: 18,624 (11th)
Looking at this data, one might think that the Celtics season should not be viewed as a failure considering that they were almost at the top of the league in every category. However, it was underwhelming based off of their expectations, so it is not at all surprising that these numbers are in the upper half of the league.
The only statistic that is below 11th is rebounding, which has been a glaring problem for the Celtics over the years. They have not had a dominant rebounder in quite some time, but their defensive capabilities have made up for that.
On the bright side, the Celtics were easily a top-8 team in the NBA, which is still solid despite not meeting initial expectations.
The Celtics regressed defensively as they owned the league’s top defense in the 2017-18 season and fell to 7th best in the 2018-19 season. It is hard to pinpoint a reason that they were not as dominant on the defensive end, but the return of Hayward and decreased roles of Jaylen Brown and Aron Baynes could be an indicator as to why. Brown and Baynes are great on the defensive end of the floor, while Hayward is lacking on that end — especially after returning from a broken leg.
That led to more mismatches created when both Kyrie Irving/Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward were on the floor as they are the sub-par defensive players in the rotation. Marcus Smart was also hurt for part of the season, which definitely hurts their defense considering he was on the All-NBA Defensive First Team. As long as Brad Stevens in the coach, they are going to be thriving on the defensive end of the floor and finding a way to get it done on offense.
Beyond the analytical reasons, two things really put the Celtics in a hole.
Kyrie Irving and his free agency drama haunted the Celtics all season long. Prior to the season, Danny Ainge and Irving said that Irving would re-sign on July 1st without question. As the season progressed, it appeared as though that was not the case and Irving wanted to leave. Rumors started swirling that he would join the Knicks with Kevin Durant and those rumors lasted from around January to the present day.
Currently, the rumors have shifted to the Brooklyn Nets, who cleared enough cap space for two max contract slots. It appears as though Irving will not be on the Celtics come next season, which means that his situation did a lot more harm for them than good. Irving’s looming free agency was one of the biggest storylines that caused headaches all year long.
The other headline that followed the Celtics was the toxic locker room and how it showed on the court. Brown called the locker room toxic and said that there was not one thing that could be pointed out as to why that is. Smart said that it is not Gordon Hayward’s fault, but he was rushed back before he was ready and has taken minutes away from guys that are producing well when on the floor. Marcus Morris said that he was not having fun, which is likely a reason that he will not return next season as well.
The Celtics were a team of skillful players that were not fond of each other, so their expectations quickly crumbled when they were no longer enjoying the game.
The Celtics had possibly the most confusing and disappointing season that we have seen in quite some time and these two situations perfectly sum up what had to be dealt with all season long. The fun was drained from the game and the Celtics’ success followed suit.
Brad Stevens is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the NBA. His job is secure for years to come as he has a unique basketball mind. Stevens’ ability to draw plays out of a timeout, his fluid offensive and defensive systems, and his superb player development and recruiting approach are top notch. Despite all of this, he did not have the best 2018-19 season and some of the struggles have to be blamed on him as the head coach.
He ended the series against the Bucks by saying “I did a bad job.” He is not by any means a bad coach and he did not give up on the team, but he was unable to control the roster at some points throughout the season. He admitted that they were a bit more lenient during the regular season than they should have been, which led to the lack of hunger and chemistry that allowed them to thrive in the 2017-18 season. This season also marked the first season that the Celtics regressed under Brad Stevens.
2013-14 Season: 25-57
2014-15 Season: 40-42
2015-16 Season: 48-34
2016-17 Season: 53-29
2017-18 Season: 55-27
2018-19 Season: 49-33
This season brought them back to around the same record as the 2015-16 Celtics, who had Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Evan Turner as the four best players on the roster. This season saw a team that was way too talented to finish as poorly as they did, which shifted the focus onto where Stevens went wrong. How could he possibly mess up with a roster as talented as the one he had this season? The answer is simple: Opportunity.
There were too many mouths to feed on the Celtics, which resulted in a heavy amount of isolation ball and broken offensive sets regardless of what Stevens drew up. Irving returning forced Rozier, who would start on a few NBA teams, to become nothing more than a role player. Rozier led the charge in the 2017-18 playoffs and truly earned the nickname “Scary Terry” during that run. However, he had a lackluster season as his minutes were dished out to Irving and Hayward.
It is tough to imagine a world where one would play Rozier over Irving, so Stevens can’t be blamed for that; however, the amount of sacrifice it takes to go from an Eastern Conference Finals starting point guard to the 8th man on the 4th seed in the East is very difficult. Stevens was unable to feed all of his guys, which led to the toxicity in the locker room and losing on the court.
It is impossible for the coach to take all of the blame however, as Kyrie did still shoot just 30 percent from the field over the last four games of the series against the Bucks. This season was a learning experience for Stevens, as he finally knows what it feels like to underperform with expectations instead of being the underdogs like they have been since he took over.
It is unfortunate that Stevens was one of the scapegoats for the Celtics’ turmoil, but his job is as safe as any coach in the league. Therefore, he should move on from this season and focus on the future of the current roster. As far as I am concerned, Brad Stevens is easily still a top-5 coach in this league that had a minor setback with this year of disappointment in Boston.
ADP: 21/17 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 15/14 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 10/9 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 67
2018-19 averages: 67 G | 33.0 MP | 23.8 PTS | 2.6 3PM | 5.0 REB | 6.9 AST | 1.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 2.6 TOV | .487 FG% | .873 FT%
Kyrie Irving, as great as he is, had a disappointing season from a leader and teammate standpoint. This does not mean that Irving is a bad teammate by any means, but he was constantly in the middle of rumors that he would leave the Celtics for the Knicks in free agency. He called LeBron James when the Celtics were struggling to apologize for the way that he handled the situation last year and to express that he knows how LeBron felt carrying a young team.
Irving signed up to be the leader of a young team, but he quickly grew unhappy with the way things were going and their season further derailed. “Rollercoaster” would probably be the appropriate term to describe Irving’s season, with it obviously ending on a down note after they were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
He finished the season even better than his ADP from an individual standpoint, so his statistics were clearly not the issue. A sprained right knee injury limited him to just 67 games on the season but he continued to make clutch buckets and was a human highlight reel all season long.
The locker room issues outweighed his on-court performance, however. The locker room was toxic as the Celtics did not get along, and it is likely that Irving’s situation played a significant role in the feud.
He made the All-NBA Second Team and was an All-Star starter, so it is quite shocking that one could accomplish that and his season still be considered a disappointment. The Celtics were expected to make the NBA Finals with Kyrie as their leader, but he did not show up in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Bucks as he shot just 30 percent in the four consecutive losses that they suffered. They regressed from the 2017-18 season and seemingly so did Irving’s drive to lead this team.
A lot is resting on Irving’s looming free agency decision.Al Horford
ADP: 58/45 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 45/34 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 36/29 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 68
2018-19 averages: 68 G | 29.0 MP | 13.6 PTS | 1.1 3PM | 6.7 REB | 4.1 AST | 0.9 STL | 1.3 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .535 FG% | .825 FT%
Ol’ Reliable Al Horford had a solid 2018-19 season that was slightly better than his ADP had predicted. He missed 14 games from a patellar tendinitis injury in his left knee that lingered throughout the second half of the season. Regardless, Horford was playing as well as usual and remained the anchor of one of the best defenses in the NBA. Although their defense dropped from 1st to 7th in defensive rating, Horford still changes the game in a profound way that can’t be seen in the box score.
Horford has become a Boston favorite during his three seasons with the Celtics and fans are surely happy that they will have him for at least one more season. Horford has a player option for next season, but he will be making just over $30 million, so there is really no chance that he will decline that unless he wants to renegotiate a deal that includes more years.
He stayed out of the drama for the most part, which shows how important having a veteran is for team dynamic. Horford and Marcus Smart were the two guys that did not really get involved in the Kyrie Irving drama or speak on it much, which indicates how dedicated they are to focusing on themselves and team success. Horford continues to be a reliable glue guy for this Celtics team, so he should be projected in the same early-middle round range come draft day next season.Jayson Tatum
ADP: 36/44 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 50/40 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 67/59 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79
2018-19 averages: 79 G | 31.1 MP | 15.7 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 6.0 REB | 2.1 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.7 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .450 FG% | .854 FT%
Jayson Tatum is the prized possession that the Celtics currently have that everyone wants. He is slated to become a superstar despite the fact that there was minimal progression from year one to year two. Amidst the Anthony Davis trade drama came the news that the Pelicans were fixated on Tatum as the centerpiece of a deal.
It seems as though the Celtics are looking to keep Tatum and build the future around him and Jaylen Brown. I would not call Tatum’s season a success however, due to how well he played in the 2017-18 playoffs compared to his lack of clutch baskets in the 2018-19 season.
Tatum regressed in efficiency this season, which was due in large part to his increase in isolation shot attempts that were contested. He would often dribble into the defense and just shoot a mid-range jumper instead of giving the ball up and waiting for a better shot. His shot selection definitely has to improve before his superstar potential comes to fruition, but he has all of the tools to continue to develop into a perennial All-Star.
ADP: 138/133 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 58/51 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 87/85 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 80
2018-19 averages: 80 G | 27.5 MP | 8.9 PTS | 1.6 3PM | 2.9 REB | 4.0 AST | 1.8 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .422 FG% | .806 FT%
Marcus Smart is the one player that has a huge impact on every single game regardless of what shows up in the box score. He makes the hustle plays and has made countless clutch plays on both ends of the floor over the first five seasons of his career. He set new career-highs in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and steals per game in his fewest minutes per game since the 2015-16 season.
Smart is a Celtics legend despite not yet winning a championship due to his undying hustle and dedication to the city. He finally earned All-Defensive First Team honors for the first time after deserving the award and getting snubbed for years.
Now that he has developed a 3-point shot that is around the league average, he is a perfect 3-and-D player. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA today and his ability to switch onto power forwards and guard them well makes him versatile.
He will probably never average 15 points per game in his career, but someone who averages 12 or so points with lock-down defense and relentless tenacity can be a valuable piece for any team. He destroyed his ADP due to his rise in efficiency and defensive stats. Smart could potentially be a late-middle round player heading into drafts next season.Marcus Morris
ADP: 140/134 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 105/104 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 126/114 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 75
2018-19 averages: 75 G | 27.9 MP | 13.9 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 6.1 REB | 1.5 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.2 TOV | .447 FG% | .844 FT%
Marcus Morris just completed his best season as an NBA player in his 8th season. He was 0.2 points per game shy of his career-high, but he set new highs in rebounds per game, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage.
He was inserted into the starting lineup with Marcus Smart in place of Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown and that quickly triggered his consistent play. He supplied reliable scoring and defense while making $5 million, which is surely going to change as free agency is looming. His isolation skills on the offensive end are top notch in the NBA and he is an above average defender, so those two skills will probably earn him a nice contract.
Unfortunately, he will likely not be on the Celtics when next season rolls around as many teams are interested in him and will pay him solid money that the Celtics can’t afford. He outplayed his ADP and will likely end up as a late-round target no matter where he ends up playing next season.Gordon Hayward
ADP: 42/54 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 117/114 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 131/131 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 72
2018-19 averages: 72 G | 25.9 MP | 11.5 PTS | 1.1 3PM | 4.5 REB | 3.4 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .466 FG% | .834 FT%
Out of everyone on the roster, Hayward had the most confusing, frustrating, disappointing, and unfortunate season. As you know, he went down with a broken leg during his first game with the Celtics. He returned this season and was given a ton of minutes right off the bat which took minutes away from guys like Rozier that recently carried the team to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The confusing part of his season was why he was given that many minutes to start the season when it was so obvious that he would be rusty. Stevens basically took minutes away from Brown and Rozier to give to Hayward, who was clearly not ready to get that workload yet.
The frustrating part is how much money the Celtics owe him over the next two seasons — an amount that would be unwarranted unless he becomes the Hayward of old again. He will be owed almost $65 million over the next two seasons, so the Celtics can only hope that they get the Hayward that they signed back for the start of next season.
The disappointing part of his season was his actual play on the court. He underperformed his ADP by almost 80 spots in per-game value, which is tragic considering he was a middle-round pick in most drafts. He scored just 11.5 points per game and shot his second-lowest 3-point percentage of his career at 33.3%.
The unfortunate part of his season is that he was the easy scapegoat for all of the Celtics’ problems. Although he did underperform, he was not the only issue and the Celtics would not have beaten the Bucks if he was the Jazz version of Gordon Hayward. He just underperformed expectations so it was easy for a lot of the blame to fall on him. Hopefully, he will be more like himself next season and he should be drafted as a late-round pick.Terry Rozier III
ADP: 135/122 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 142/130 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 195/176 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79
2018-19 averages: 79 G | 22.7 MP | 9.0 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 3.9 REB | 2.9 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .388 FG% | .785 FT%
“Scary Terry” got the short end of the stick with this Celtics team and it has likely forced him out of Boston.
Rozier was a fan favorite during the 2018 playoffs, but it was understandable why his role had to decrease this season. However, it is also important to realize how much Rozier sacrificed in terms of potential free agency earnings because he was stuck in such a minimal role. He will likely get paid by a team that desperately needs a starting point guard like the Pacers, Magic or Suns, but I would love to see him come back to Boston if they strike out on Kyrie Irving.
Although his per-game value was well below his ADP, his total value was not that far off. He has the tools to be a starting point guard in this league, which is why he found it so difficult and frustrating to be forced into an 8th man role. Rozier will likely be starting for an NBA team next season, which would make him a late-round target in drafts at the very least.
I wish nothing but the best for Rozier if he is not with the Celtics come next season. Thank you “Scary Terry.”Jaylen Brown
ADP: 83/110 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 148/152 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 180/184 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 74
2018-19 averages: 74 G | 25.9 MP | 13.0 PTS | 1.3 3PM | 4.2 REB | 1.4 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .465 FG% | .658 FT%
Brown is the last member on this list of the main eight players that Brad Stevens had to find a way to feed each and every night. Brown was the sixth/seventh man for a majority of the season as he started just 25 games, which was a new role for the third-year wing.
He drastically underperformed his ADP due to his decreased role and lack of development from year two to year three. He made a huge jump from his first year to his second year, but he was unable to continue the trend during his third season.
Brown has impressed Celtics fans during his three-year career with his gritty defense and steadily-improving jumper. I would be shocked if he was not in the starting lineup when the 2019-20 season rolls around as the Celtics seem invested in him and Jayson Tatum as the new core. Despite the fantasy disappointment this season, expect Brown to remain around the same ADP that he was this season due to the likelihood of an increased role next season.Aron Baynes
ADP: N/A/130 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 278/269 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 263/258 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 51
2018-19 averages: 51 G | 16.1 MP | 5.6 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 4.7 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .471 FG% | .855 FT%
Aron Baynes played a significant role in the magical 2018 Eastern Conference Finals run as the starting center. It was not until late this season that Stevens resorted to that lineup once again, where Al Horford plays power forward and Baynes plays center. Due to the fact that it took Stevens until the end of the season to give Baynes this role, he underperformed from a fantasy perspective. His ADP was 130 in Yahoo! leagues and he finished 278/269 in 8/9-cat total value, though he missed big chunks of time with a broken hand and then a broken cuboid bone in his left foot.
Baynes has a player option for next season that is just over $5 million, so there is a chance that he opts out based on the money. However, he said that he loves playing in Boston so he could opt-in and disregard the fact that he could make more money if he tests the market. Baynes will likely be a deep-league center once again if he is on the Celtics come next season.Daniel Theis
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 245/225 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 281/254 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 66
2018-19 averages: 66 G | 13.8 MP | 5.7 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 3.4 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.6 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .549 FG% | .737 FT%
The German-born center was scouted and signed by the Celtics to be a reliable role player that they develop into a consistent piece of the rotation. He has definitely been a reliable backup big man, which is all they could have asked for from the 27-year-old, second-year player. Theis had a similar second season to his first one, but the one obvious step in his development was his 3-point percentage. as he jumped from 31% to 38.8% from beyond the arc.
Theis just finished the second season of his two-year deal, so the Celtics have to decide whether or not they want to bring him back. I expect that they will re-sign him as he has brought solid bench minutes for his two seasons with the team. Regardless, he will not hold much fantasy value in anything but the deepest of leagues.Robert Williams III
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 350/338 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 302/267 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 31
2018-19 averages: 31 G | 9.1 MP | 2.6 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 2.6 REB | 0.2 AST | 0.3 STL | 1.3 BLK | 0.3 TOV | .706 FG% | .600 FT%
Robert Williams III had an interesting season to say the least. He did not get off on the best foot with the Celtics as he missed a team flight and was late for practice the same week.
He has insane potential for blocking shots and is definitely a work in progress, but time will tell if Williams is able to right his wrongs and become a starter-level center for the Celtics.
They will need someone to step in post-Al Horford and Williams could be that guy. He averaged over one block per game in just 9.1 minutes per game, so there is clearly some defensive anchor potential within him. If he can develop more of an offensive game, he will become a starting center in this league.
There is no telling what this Celtics roster will look like come September, but I would guess that Williams would be nothing more than a deep-league blocks specialist for next season.Semi Ojeleye
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 391/389 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 465/459 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 56
2018-19 averages: 56 G | 10.6 MP | 3.3 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 1.5 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.3 TOV | .424 FG% | .615 FT%
Semi Ojeleye did not have a great 2018-19 season, but, like Theis, he was had some moments that flashed his potential to remain a role player in this league. He had a 17-point game against the Wizards in April, but aside from that he had just four games with double digit points.
He is just 24 years old and can remain with the Celtics for the next two seasons, so he will have plenty of opportunities to prove that he has developed and has a place as a defensive-minded role player. He has a toughness on the defensive end about him that not many guys in this league have, which is why Stevens sometimes brings him in to guard guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ojeleye will need to improve his defensive stats and efficiency before he jumps into the conversation for consistent rotation minutes.Brad Wanamaker
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 375/371 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 398/398 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 36
2018-19 averages: 36 G | 9.5 MP | 3.9 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 1.1 REB | 1.6 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .476 FG% | .857 FT%
Brad Wanamaker was a shot in the dark replacement for Shane Larkin and he played quite well in that third-string role. Although Larkin was definitely better, Wanamaker had his moments this season where one could see why the Celtics decided to bring him on board. He had a 17-point, six-rebound and seven-assist effort in 29 minutes in a game against the Wizards in April.
He flashed some promise as a role player, but if the Celtics bring him back it will probably be for the same exact role that he had this season.Guerschon “The Dancing Bear” Yabusele
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 408/409 (8/9-cat) | Per-
Game Value: 466/460 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 41
2018-19 averages: 41 G | 6.1 MP | 2.3 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 1.3 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .455 FG% | .682 FT%
Guerschon Yabusele a.k.a “The Dancing Bear” is a fan favorite for the Celtics despite his obvious lack of NBA skill when on the court. He is currently not good enough to crack any NBA rotation, but that does not mean he never will be.
Yabusele is still just 23 years old, but next season will be a big season for him to try and prove his place in this league. There is a team option on his contract for the 2020-21 season where he is slated to make just under $5 million, so he will have to prove that it is worth it for the Celtics to use their cap space on him. The Dancing Bear has some serious dabbing to do before he becomes a role player in this league.
There are a plethora of offseason questions that need to be answered.
Should the Celtics trade Jayson Tatum?
Even if they are getting Anthony Davis, the Celtics should not trade Jayson Tatum. Tatum is a 21-year-old budding superstar that can easily be the cornerstone of their franchise. This could be a mistake if Tatum’s development is stagnant, but I am a firm believer that he will become a superstar and scoring maestro in this league. Do not trade Jayson Tatum. Please.
Should the Celtics re-sign Terry Rozier?
This question is dependent on another question that has such an obvious answer that I don’t have to separate them: whether or not the Celtics should re-sign Kyrie Irving. The answer to that question is obviously “yes” if Irving is willing to come back. However, I believe that Rozier would be willing to re-sign with the Celtics if Irving leaves as he will instantly become the starter and the team will start to look like the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals team once again. I am a huge fan of Rozier and would love for them to re-sign him regardless, but it only makes sense if Irving is no longer on the roster.
Will Kyrie Irving return?
Now that Kevin Durant is out for the majority, if not all, of next season, Irving might stay with the Celtics since his free agency partner in crime is out of commission. However, it is still possible that he joins the Brooklyn Nets with D’Angelo Russell as his backcourt buddy and a young budding team (sound familiar?). He will try to lead this team like he did with the Celtics, so let’s see if Round 2 turns out better than Round 1 did. Ultimately, I believe the Nets and Celtics are the two main contenders for Irving.
This concludes the Boston Celtics Post-Mortem. There are a lot of options that the Celtics can take this offseason, especially as rumors about a potential trade for Clint Capela keep popping up (they should absolutely make that happen), but their goal should ultimately be to perform better than they did this season. Hopefully, the Celtics bring a fun culture that leads to team success so Celtic pride can be restored. What a time to be a basketball fan.
Thanks Hoopballers for reading the 2018-19 Boston Celtics Post-Mortem!
June 19, 2019, 2:44 pmDavid Vanterpool - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have hired David Vanterpool as an assistant coach.
Vanterpool was a popular name on the interview circuit this summer but ultimately did not land a head coaching job. An assistant with Portland for the last seven seasons, one would expect that Vanterpool's responsibilities will increase in Minnesota.
Source: Timberwolves PR on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 2:41 pmAl Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer is reporting that the Mavs, Lakers and Clippers have all shown interest in Al Horford, with some of O'Connor's sources indicating that the Mavs are the frontrunners.
Horford was expected to re-sign with the Celtics but the two didn't appear to be aligned in what they wanted moving forward, and rumors have Horford set to cash in on a four-year deal worth more than $100 million. He is an extremely malleable player who does almost everything at a high level, and his availability drastically changes the open market. Horford is a fit on just about any team build and should have no problem commanding a big offer come June 30. He'd be a fantastic pickup for any of the three teams mentioned, and his fit in Dallas next to two young, do-it-all stars would be great entertainment.
Source: The Ringer
June 19, 2019, 1:59 pmJa Morant - G - College
Ja Morant says he’s pain-free after undergoing a surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee, and also expects to play in Summer League.
Morant is widely expected to be taken by the Grizzlies at No. 2 overall in Thursday’s draft, and Wednesday’s trade of Mike Conley completely clears the runway for Morant to play a ton right out of the gates. Delon Wright will also be around and is good enough to push Morant for minutes to an extent, but the Grizzlies figure to spend most of the season exploring a Morant – Jaren Jackson Jr. pairing and figuring out what works around that. Barring a draft night surprise, Morant looks like one of the safer rookies to project in terms of sheer opportunity. There was some worry that his knee procedure would put him behind the eight ball but it no longer seems like that will be the case.
Source: Ben Golliver on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:33 pmKyle Korver - G/F - Memphis Grizzlies
Kyle Korver, who will be traded to the Grizzlies when they complete Wednesday's Mike Conley deal, is expected to play one more season, and possibly another beyond that per Marc Stein.
Korver, 38, was said to be mulling retirement but it looks as though he's going to give it another crack. A notorious fitness nut, Korver keeps himself in great shape and relies on a skill that hasn't degraded at all with age. His place on a rebuilding team is questionable, however, and it would be surprising if he spent the entire season in Memphis. Consider him the same 3-point specialist he always is.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:29 pmJae Crowder - F - Memphis Grizzlies
Jae Crowder is headed to the Grizzlies as soon as Wednesday's Mike Conley trade is officially completed.
Crowder reasserted himself as a quality stretch four last season after he struggled in his pit stop with Cleveland. He might not hold much utility on a squad that's rebuilding, and Crowder's best shot at fantasy value might be getting re-routed to another team. Regardless, Crowder would only be a late-round guy in 9-cat leagues at best, and he'll likely settle in as a streamer for threes, rebounds and the occasional steal. If he does play out the year in Memphis, he figures to impact the minutes of Kyle Anderson and Avery Bradley.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:24 pmGrayson Allen - G - Memphis Grizzlies
Grayson Allen is part of Wednesday's Mike Conley trade and will be headed to the Grizzlies when the deal is completed.
Allen only appeared in 37 games for the Jazz, though he did end up dropping 40 points in the season finale when Utah rested most of its players. On a rebuilding team, Allen is a lock to play more, but whether he becomes more than a deep-league points and threes guy is up for debate.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:56 amMike Conley - G - Utah Jazz
The Grizzlies are trading franchise star Mike Conley Jr. to the Jazz for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the 23rd pick in Thursday's Draft and a future protected first-round pick.
The Jazz were considered the frontrunner to trade for Conley in the last few days and they are able to execute a deal that upgrades their point guard position without selling the farm. It’s now obvious that the Grizzlies will be entering a rebuilding period and Ja Morant seems the obvious choice to replace Conley.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:39 amKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
ESPN’s Jay Williams, a Kevin Durant friend and a partner with KD’s manager, Rich Kleiman, told the NY Post that it’s too early for the Warriors superstar to figure out what the injury means for his free-agent future.
Williams has spoken with Durant since the devastating injury as he is still trying to deal with the post-surgery period. KD has until June 29th, the day before free-agency courting period, to opt out of the final season of his pact. Even though he will miss next season, he is likely to get a max deal either with the Warriors or elsewhere. The Knicks are still interested, believing that if there’s any player who can come back from this debilitating injury, it is Durant, who will be 32 to start the 2020-21 campaign.
Source: NY Post
June 19, 2019, 11:33 amMichael Kidd-Gilchrist - F - Charlotte Hornets
Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has opted into his $13M player option for the 2019-20 season.
Ugh! This comes a week after Marvin Williams exercised his $15 million player option putting the Hornets in a tough financial situation with at least $98 million already on the books for next year. It’s highly unlikely that MKG would have commanded a salary anywhere close to $10 million per year in an open market so this was a no brainer for him. Kidd-Gilchrist is only 25 years old and is coming off a couple seasons where he struggled with injuries while the lack of a reliable jumper makes it hard for him to have value in today’s space and pace offense.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:16 amKhris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton is declining his $13M player option and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Middleton is expected to command a five-year max contract but he and the Bucks are planning to work together toward a new long-term deal. Middleton recently bought a new property in Milwaukee and Giannis has openly vouched for his teammate so we’d be shocked if the two parties don’t end up agreeing on a new deal. There will be plenty of suitors that can only offer him a four-year max deal, with the Lakers rumored to be one of them.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter