The Celtics have not started out the season very well. They managed to blow out the pathetic 76ers on opening night before falling to the Raptors in blowout fashion 2 nights later. They lost to the Spurs the other night but were able to hang tough. So far, it has been the Celtics lack of scoring as the main problem. The starting lineup of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, David Lee and Tyler Zeller has not been getting it done.
Tyler Zeller has strangely barely played this year as he has been starting the games and quickly coming out for the likes of Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. This is more of a problem of depth that Brad Stevens faces then Zeller's poor play. Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder have played well enough. One of the main problems has been David Lee, who has been severely outplayed by Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger. Lee has to get it together soon if he wants to keep his starting job. Johnson and Sullinger have been playing great basketball and deserve 20+ minutes a game. I am confident Stevens will figure out the best rotations possible to win more games.
Another issue the Celtics face is their lack of bench scoring outside of Isaiah Thomas. On nights where Isaiah does not have it, someone has to step up. Right now, no one is stepping up. Evan Turner has been horrible and I would not be surprised if Stevens turns to RJ Hunter more off the bench to provide a spark. Hunter projects into an elite 3 point shooter but he needs time to develop.
Lastly, I do not think Danny Ainge goes the month of November without a trade. It will not take many more losses to get the rumblings going that the Celtics have too much depth and need more pieces they can rely on consistently.
Some guys I could see Ainge trading:
C/F Kelly Olynyk
G/F Evan Turner
These are the most logical trade chips as both have value as they are still young and talented players. More importantly though it would make the rotations much more clear if we could trade both of those guys for a solid player. It is too early in the season to know what guys on other teams could be available for trade, but as the month rolls on it should become more clear what teams are contending and what teams are rebuilding. Don't give up on the Celtics, they are in for a great year and playoff bound!
By: Jack Journeay