Are the Boston Celtics too young for their own good?
Former NBA player and coach Sam Mitchell suggested as much Wednesday on NBA TV when he insisted Celtics head coach Brad Stevens must do his best coaching in order for Boston to contend in the Eastern Conference this season. Mitchell argued the Celtics’ offseason roster upheaval — in which Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and others departed, with Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter and a host of rookies arriving as replacements — has lowered the team’s talent and experience levels below where they were in 2018-19.
“When you look at this Boston Celtics team, yeah they’ve got some great young players, but that’s the thing: young,” Mitchell said. “And then they added a bunch of young players through the draft to go with some more young players.
“… Brad Stevens is going to have to his best coaching job that he has done thus far in Boston because they’re young. … At the end of the day, it’s about who plays the hardest, who plays the smartest, who plays the toughest, who shares the ball and who plays both ends of the floor.
“Are the Celtics going to do a good job of that? Yes, but you have to be realistic and see that the talent level and experience has dropped off, and you’re going to be leaning on some young, young, young players.
ESPN recently projected the Celtics to win 48 games in the regular season and earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. At least one NBA writer believes that projection is ambitious, and Mitchell, who played 13 seasons in the NBA and coached for another 15, seemingly agrees due to his doubts about youth.
Stevens and his young players will have to set about proving them wrong in the coming weeks and months.