The Boston Celtics’ season hasn’t exactly gone as planned nearly a fifth of the way through it.
With aspirations of a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference and a 50-win season, Boston has limped its way to an 8-6 start, largely because it missed several key players — Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart — for significant amounts of time with injuries.
But in the wake of those ailments, several younger players and role players had an opportunity for prolonged stints in the rotation, which only can help the Celtics down the line. That’s why Avery Bradley actually is appreciative of the struggle the team has been through in the first month.
“It was hard to be losing like that, but at the same time, it gave other people an opportunity,” Bradley told The Boston Herald. “You know, I don’t regret any of it. I feel like we were still able to grow. Even though we were losing games, we were able to watch film, look at ourselves in the mirror, all those things. Early in the season, fighting through adversity, I think that’s good for us. I look at it as a positive.
“It gave people an opportunity. What if we need them later in the year? Jaylen (Brown) and Terry (Rozier) and all these guys will have some experience to fall back on. I just think it’s good for these guys, and that’s good for us as a team.”
Bradley’s teammate, All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, agrees.
“Those guys need to get that experience,” Thomas said, via the Herald. “There’s going to be games where the starters and the guys who play the most minutes don’t have it, and if guys like that are ready, they can come in and do what they did (Monday) night and win us a game.”
As Thomas noted, it’s already paying off, as evidenced by second-year pro Terry Rozier’s excellent showing in a 17-0 fourth-quarter Celtics run that took back a lead from the Minnesota Timberwolves and won Boston the game.
“The starters couldn’t get it going, and (the reserves are) the reason we won that game,” Bradley said. “I’m happy for those guys, happy for Terry. Hopefully those guys can keep it going and have that confidence.”
If that extra experience is the spark the Celtics need to get back on track, then Bradley and Thomas certainly will have been right: As frustrating as this start has been, Boston will be better for it.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports Images