The Boston Celtics have been finding their collective footing recently. After dropping their first four games of the season, they have stormed back to win their last three games. Beating the back to back defending champion Miami Heat in Miami, at the buzzer, just might end up being the highlight of their season.
Jeff Green has been the Celtics’ best player, continuing his strong start to the season. He leads the team in ppg and minutes played, something the Celtics need to compete on a nightly basis, as they don’t have enough talent to compensate. His game-winning three pointer with .6 seconds left against Miami over Lebron James figures to give Green even more confidence going forward.
Brandon Bass, Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger have played better than expected so far in this young season. Bass has tremendous physical attributes, but that hasn’t always translated to a impressive game. However, this season he is one of the more accomplished players on the roster (which says quite a bit about their lineup!) and seems to be asserting himself a bit more than in the past.
Crawford has always been a streaky shooter, and a bit of a wildcard as far as his performance goes, yet so far this season he has been efficient and played invaluable minutes for head coach Brad Stevens, who needs all the scoring he can get. Sullinger has moved past off the court issues to put up very impressive numbers, especially considering the limited minutes he is playing so far.
Avery Bradley, a tremendous on the ball defender of point and shooting guards, is still in the process of being put in the best position for him to succeed at a high level in the NBA. The quicker Stevens realizes that Bradley isn’t an NBA point guard, the better off everybody will be. His offensive game should consist of cuts to the basket off the ball (something he excels at), and corner three pointers because he can’t handle the ball at this level. His ceiling should be a shorter Bruce Bowen, a defensive ace that can occasionally contribute offensively.
Vitor Faverani, the exciting rookie prospect and bright spot for the Celtics in the first couple games, has come back to earth. This should be expected as he is a rookie, and will have to adjust to the different styles of play opposing teams will offer, as well as countering other teams adjustments to his individual game.
Kelly Olynyk, the Celtics recent 1st round draft pick, has shown flashes of what could make for a solid NBA career. He can shoot and rebound well, he just needs to figure out his game at this level. Instead of pump faking constantly, just getting the ball and shooting it would be a step in the right direction. By the end of the season, Olynyk should be one of the key positive developments for the Celtics going into the future.
While their odds of getting a better draft pick drop every time they win, beating a team aiming for three-peat at the last second is always fun. They just shouldn’t do that too often. They have an easy stretch the next four games, before getting much more difficult after that. Stevens can continue to figure out his way in the NBA and tinker his lineups and game-plans in the process. So far so good for the Celtics.
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