Normally, these “Celtics notes” offer additional information and analysis related to Boston’s latest game. In this case, we typically would provide insight into the Celtics’ 109-92 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
However, with Tuesday’s victory representing the final game of 2019, we decided to do something different.
It’s been a strange year for the Celtics, to say the least. The infamous 2018-19 campaign ended in disappointment in the spring, with Kyrie Irving leaving town shortly thereafter. This season has been much different, as the Celtics once again look like legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. That said, Boston hardly is a perfect product, and tweaks must be made if the Celtics are to be more than just a good story.
So, without further ado, here are three New Year’s resolutions for the Celtics:
(Note: We’re not including things like “win a championship”; rather, we’re focusing on realistic stuff that can be accomplished in the short-term.)
GET ANOTHER BIG MAN
No disrespect to Enes Kanter, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis and Vincent Poirier, but the Celtics might be an All-Star-caliber center (or slightly below that) away from being NBA Finals contenders. Ultimately, what the Celtics have in their frontcourt isn’t good enough. Kanter is skilled in the post and a strong rebounder, but he can’t stretch the floor. Williams has tons of talent, but he can’t stay healthy. Theis is good and very likable, but he’s your classic backup center. As for Poirier, who knows what the Celtics have in “Vinny Sex Finger?” Whether there’s a deal to be made before the Feb. 6 trade deadline is anyone’s guess, but the Celtics have the assets (most notably the Memphis Grizzlies pick) to make a splash. The biggest hurdle likely will be making the money work, as the Celtics basically have zero remaining cap space — among the factors likely preventing a deal for Kevin Love.
The Celtics have everything they need to be the clear No. 2 team in the East — they just need to prove it. Yes, the Celtics have beaten great teams this season (Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets), but many of those victories come with caveats, such as the other team playing on a back-to-back or without their best player. Moreover, Boston has come up short against the teams it needs to distance itself from in the conference. The Celtics are 0-2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, 0-1 against the Indiana Pacers and they lost to the Raptors on Saturday. They also fell to the Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers during a West Coast trip in November. Sure, it’s unfair to expect the Celtics to win all of these games, but they need to win a majority of them if they want to claim the all-important second seed in the East.
PLAY TREMONT WATERS
This is more of a selfish desire than it is something paramount to the success of the 2019-20 Celtics, but hear us out. Waters, whom Boston selected in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft, has been electric in the G League. Standing just 5-foot-10, the rookie point guard is averaging 20.6 points, 7.5 assists and the 3.1 rebounds per game for the Maine Red Claws. The LSU product also impressed in both of his games in Boston, albeit in limited minutes. Waters has been so good this season that scouts around the NBA apparently have been imploring their teams to trade for the 21-year-old. While Waters won’t (and shouldn’t) challenge Brad Wanamaker for backup point guard minutes in Boston, he deserves a chance to usurp Carsen Edwards, who has looked lost in his freshman campaign.
Actually, we will leave you with one note related to Saturday’s game. Kanter recorded a career-high six blocks, and his postgame comments deserve some attention.
Take us into 2020, Enes:
?Give me the MVP, baby!? – Enes Kanter after being asked about his career-high six blocks.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 31, 2019