After any Celtics loss innumerable tweets and posts from frantic fans crying out for trades fill our timelines… who Danny should let go and who Danny should keep. It’s time to set the panicking aside and realize what the team actually needs. Danny Ainge has done his job in putting together a contending roster. Now it’s time for Brad Stevens and the 15 players in his charge to step up.
There is absolutely no excuse for a Brad Stevens’ team to be weak on defense, yet at various times the Celtics struggle. When their defense is weak, they either lose or narrowly win. We don’t need to trade anyone to defend the three or make shots difficult for our opponents. There are plenty of guys that can do that on this roster, they just have to do it more consistently. The Celtics have proven they are capable of stopping guys like Kawhi, Harden, and Lebron, which most players say are impossible to defend. Clearly trading isn’t an absolute necessity, defending is.
Fight For the Rebound
Rebounding and second chance points are often a deciding factor in the game. The Celtics are fortunate to have one of the league’s best rebounders in Enes Kanter. Yet when the trade talk tweets come out, Kanter is on the top of everyone’s list. Trading him would be a huge mistake. He’s regularly contributing, putting points on the board and fighting for rebounds. When Enes isn’t putting up the second chance shot he’s looking to pass it to someone who can. It’s time for the “Trade Kanter” chants to stop and it’s time to embrace him as a vital part of the team.
Kanter isn’t the only player out there qualified to crash the glass either. Traditional basketball positions are evolving, which means rebounding isn’t just the job of the team’s center. The Jays have nothing but strength and agility, which should enable them to attack the boards more. There’s no reason they can’t box out opponents and get the rebounds too. They have been doing much more of this, but can certainly improve. It’s equally important for guys to be watching where the ball is heading and get where they need to be to grab the ball first. When the Cs lead the box score in rebounds, more often than not the buckets follow.
The Celtics are no strangers to the “next man up mentality,” but it’s impossible to fill the gap when multiple starters and key role players are out. More often than not, Stevens does a tremendous job in calling on the right guys at the right time for maximum effectiveness. It’s no easy task to replace a defensive menace like Marcus, or a playmaker like Hayward.
One benefit of these early season injuries, however, is that the bench gets more experience on the floor. Brad can experiment with different rotations before the playoffs. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not trade worthy either. Fans need to remember that even though the Celtics aren’t running on all cylinders, they do still have a 22-7 record. A record not deserving of all the panicked voices out there.
Just Need Time
There are still 52 games to play in the regular season, which gives the team plenty of time to get healthy, improve on the aforementioned issues and to gel even more. This is not the time to move anyone. A forest would never exist if individual trees were uprooted and moved simply because they didn’t mature fast enough. Likewise, a team cannot grow if individuals are taken out, traded and planted elsewhere. It’s important not to rush the process, and even more important to enjoy the process of this amazing team. A team every analyst and athlete dismissed for being too young to be capable of contending for anything. A team that’s further ahead than what their coach even thought possible at this point in the season.
The only thing that should be traded are the panicked tweets and posts from panicked fans. Instead they should be ones of appreciation and anticipation. The Celtics are on their way and we all need to enjoy the ride. And as always, #bleedgreen.