Just last year the Boston Celtics were fighting for an NBA finals appearance against the Miami Heat, and at some points it seemed like the might actually get there. Fast forward to the 2020-2021 season and all hope looks just about lost for a title run in Boston. Currently sitting outside the playoff picture in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics stand at 16-17, and 4-6 in their last 10 outings.
What seems to be the issue this year? The talent on the roster isn't all that altered, yes we lost Gordon Hayward, but also gained help on the glass with Tristan Thompson, who is averaging 8.4 RPG in just 23 minutes a night. The Celtics also gained two promising rookies who have been playing prominent minutes in Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. We can't blame the team chemistry issues on Kyrie anymore, he's gone. We also can't blame Hayward for stealing minutes from Brown or Tatum, he's gone too. Who is it?
Many times over the past, at least 6 years, the Celtics have had a chance to trade for a superstar or at the very least, an All-Star type caliber player at the trade deadline. Not once in each of those seasons did Danny Ainge pull the trigger and make the deal. Players the Celtics sought after were dealt for less than the Celtics had to offer. I think it is fair to say at this point that Danny Ainge has constructed a long-term lineup that looks good for the future, but in theory it should also be working now based off the last few seasons, especially now that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are finally All-Stars together.
With that being said, I still think some of the blame is to be put on Danny Ainge for not pulling triggers in the past and making deals when the Celtics had more of a repertoire of assets. For now, all that can be said is that we hope the Celtics can somehow turn it around and grab a decent spot in the playoff picture before it is too late. If this team can figure it out by the playoffs, they can still be dangerous.