Through 21 games, the Boston Celtics have yet to look like the championship-caliber team many believed they would be before the season began.
Boston sits at a mediocre 11-10. The C’s offense has been borderline offensive at times, and while the defense looks good on paper, it has been torched by a number of guards, from Jamal Murray to Trey Burke.
So, what’s the problem with the Green? Kevin McHale thinks he has an idea.
The Celtics legend spoke with the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett and explained why head coach Brad Stevens is in a tough spot.
“I think they’re in a spot where they’re trying to keep a lot of players involved and a lot of players happy and catching a rhythm for a lot of players,” McHale told Bulpett. “That’s always really hard. I’ve always believed that you need to make sure, as a coach, that your three or four top guys are in a great rhythm, and then after that you’re going to have to have guys that fill in and play. You can’t make everybody happy all the time. That’s a tough thing.
“And granted, I think with Boston, one of the toughest things for Brad (Stevens) might be deciding who his top three of four guys are. There’s a lot of guys on that team that can really play. But at some point, you’ve got to go to guys and say, ‘Look, I’m going to run my offense and these certain guys are going to get a few more shots. I’ve got to make sure they get going. I’m going to give them a few more minutes.’”
McHale noted the C’s are facing an issue most teams don’t have to think about.
“But it’s a tough, tough situation, because at some point you’re going to have to bruise some egos and sit some people down. I’ve never seen any coach be capable of keeping 10 or 11 guys all happy, especially when they’re all really good. I mean, it’s one thing to keep your 11th man happy when he knows he’s not going to ever play; he’s just happy to be in the league. That’s not the case in Boston.”
Stevens already has made a tough decision by sending forward Gordon Hayward to the bench and inserting Marcus Morris into the starting lineup. The head coach likely will have another difficult call in front of him when Jaylen Brown returns from his bruised tailbone. The Celtics played well with Marcus Smart in the starting lineup in Monday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans and some believe the defensive maven should stay in the starting five even when the struggling Brown returns.
The Celtics have a favorable schedule ahead which could allow them to right the ship, but if they don’t take advantage of lesser opponents, it will be time to sound the alarm at TD Garden.