With Tristan Thompson out of the lineup and in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, there have been rumors that the center isn’t quite fitting in with his Boston Celtics teammates.
This comes as no surprise, though. Perhaps the NBA of all leagues would be the one to have players calling out current teammates, but not this version of the Celtics. Of course they’re going to stand by their man.
But with that, O’Connor is standing by his reporting.
“For the Celtics, you know, all I’ve heard is there’s just been some, you know, issues with playing time,” O’Connor told NBC Sports Boston’s Trenni Kusnierek on pregame coverage for the Celtics’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. “That some guys are, you know, players are dealing with different types of minutes every night and that’s because Brad Stevens is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And that’s naturally frustrating for any NBA team when you don’t know what you’re going to get night in and night out. So this is the normal challenge of this weird funky 2020-21 season, and for Boston especially coming in with such high expectations. It naturally would be frustrating, it shouldn’t be frustrating.”
While this issue isn’t necessarily fair to blame Thompson, it’s valid. With him out for the foreseeable future, and with Stevens not feeling like he has to roll out a double-big lineup to find minutes for his three centers, the Celtics have been able to space the floor much better and allow Robert Williams to play through some growing pains.
They’ve missed Thompson’s presence in the paint and off the glass during his time out, though.
If there’s anything to these rumors, perhaps it will play out ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.