Panic time and a sense of urgency should be settling within the Celtics franchise this season. Despite it being only the middle of the season, thing’s haven’t been going exactly to plan. If the Celtics want good seeding or to even make the playoffs, they need urgency.
Due to the global pandemic, the NBA regular season has been shortened to 72 games. To the untrained eye that may seem not a big deal. But for a season like this, it leaves the door open for many teams. Now thanks to the new play-in games, miracles and major seed changes can shift within 1 game. Currently, the Celtics sit at the 5th seed at 13-13. No spot is safe right now with the #1 seed (Philly) only 5 games ahead.
With the no crowds in the arenas and other protocols, the essence of the game has changed. And to some players, it takes some adjusting. Teams are learning quickly how to adjust and gain chemistry as a unit. This second half of the season will be vital for 80% of the teams in the eastern conference. And if the Celtics aren’t careful they can find themselves outside of the top 8 seeds. All it takes is for 1 injury or a losing streak to happen and see their season take a drastic change.
Panic Time For Kemba Walker And His Slow Start
The former all-star hasn’t been himself since returning from injury. With the rise of Jaylen Brown, Walker is learning to be the #3 offensive option on his team. Something that he hasn’t been his entire pro or collegiate career. Aside from that, he’s also simply hasn’t been able to find his rhythm as of yet.
With the loss of Gordon, Brown stepping up to the all-star level has been huge. However, if they want to return to the conference finals or further they’ll need Walker. Against the Lakers, he shot 1-12 from the field. According to NBA.com, he’s averaging 16.3 points and only 4 assists a night. Boston will need him to get going. Especially since their depth isn’t too strong.
Depth Is Thin For Celtics
Don’t get it misunderstood, when the Celtics are at their highest they can ball. However, for them to be a high seed in the east, their bench will need to step up. Last year, they relied heavily on their starters and Marcus Smart off the bench. With Hayward gone to Charlotte, Walker struggling, the supporting cast will be more prevalent.
Young guys such as Grant Williams and Robert Williams are getting more minutes and stepping up. However, rookie Payton Pritchard will need to develop relatively quickly for the Celtics success. Danie Theis is an above-average defender who’s been more durable than Tristan Thompson as of late. The second half of the season will be crucial for the bench in proving their depth isn’t their weakness.