The Boston Celtics are off on Christmas Day this year, so don’t expect a present to come in the form of a win Friday.
In reality, that’s probably a good thing, as we’ve found several other items that should be on Boston’sÂ wish list this holiday season.
Entering Christmas at 16-13, the CelticsÂ have been both naughty and nice to date: They’ve taken the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs to the brink and knocked off other excellent NBA squads,Â but they also scored just 77 points in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers and lost to the lowly Brooklyn Nets by double digits.
So what will the New Year hold? It depends on what president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has up his sleeve between now and the Feb. 18 trade deadline. We’re not Danny Ainge, but here’s a few things we’d like to see under the tree.
1. A shiny new toy (preferably a big one)
Isaiah Thomas is making a compelling case to be an All-Star, but what Ainge said during theÂ preseason still holds true: This team still lacks a bona-fide talent. Fortunately for Boston, the talent is out there where they need it most: The frontcourt.
We’ve heard about all the baggage accompanyingÂ Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, but a 25-year-oldÂ elite scorer and rebounder simply is too good to pass up, and one could argueÂ Cousins wouldÂ benefit from a solid locker room and a bright head coach in Brad Stevens. The Celtics have plenty of bodies up front, but none come close to Cousins’ level, and Ainge might have just enough draft picks at his disposal to entice the Kings to move the big man.
2. A Red Ryder BB Gun
We don’t want the Celtics to shoot their eye out, but they could use another outside shooter.
Boston is among the NBA’s leaders in 3-point attempts but ranks in the bottom half of the league in 3-point percentage. Avery Bradley has shot well behind the arc, but rookie R.J. Hunter is the closest thing the Celtics have to a pure shooter. New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson is an intriguingÂ target as a big man who shoots over 40 percent from beyond the arc, whileÂ Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is anotherÂ consistent outside shooter who also could add a veteran presence.
3. Blessings of health for Marcus Smart
ThisÂ was supposed to be Smart’s breakout season. Instead, he enters the holidays having played in just nine of the team’s 29 games.
Smart traveled with the team Wednesday to Charlotte and is expectedÂ to return from his left knee injury soon. When he does, the Celtics must hope he stays on the court. Smart provides a huge defensive boost when healthy, and his 26-point outburst against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 15 gave a glimpse into what he’s capable of on offense. Smart’sÂ reckless playing style makes him more susceptible to injury, but if he can stay injury-free down the stretch, that might be the best present the Celtics could ask for.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images