The biggest knock on the Boston Celtics this past season revolved around their mental fortitude. Are they tough enough?

Boston’s roster is loaded with talent, featuring an enviable blend of star power, depth and versatility. Yet, the C’s lacked a killer instinct, oftentimes playing down to their opponent while seemingly struggling to find internal motivation.

It’s not an organizational death knell, per se, although it sure reared its ugly head in the NBA playoffs, most notably during Boston’s Eastern Conference finals loss to the Miami Heat. But something about the Celtics’ culture needs to change before their championship window slams shut. They’re inconsistent, at best. Soft, at worst.

As such, it makes a ton of sense that Boston made calls to the Detroit Pistons to ask about Isaiah Stewart, according to The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III.

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Stewart, 22, checks a lot of boxes for the Celtics, as a young, versatile big who’s excellent on the boards and capable of putting the ball in the basket. But his intensity is what should appeal most to Boston.

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“Sometimes it’s just about kicking everybody’s (butt),” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver reportedly said when Detroit was considering Stewart ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Stewart has earned the reputation of a tone-setter in the Motor City, with his November 2021 skirmish with LeBron James offering a glimpse into the ferocity with which he operates. It basically took all of Detroit to hold back an irate Stewart after James bloodied him with an elbow in the paint.

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Now, going ballistic on one of the greatest players in NBA history usually isn’t the career highlight one seeks upon entering The Association. And in some cases, that level of anger might raise a few red flags. But the C’s could use a kick in the pants. Or, at the very least, someone who’s prepared to scratch and claw while holding others accountable. That he’d fill a need in the frontcourt is icing on the cake.

“Sometimes it’s just about kicking everybody’s (butt).”

Pistons GM Troy Weaver (reportedly) on Isaiah Stewart in 2020

“That’s the Jamaican culture, and that’s the way I raised him,” Stewart’s father, Dela, said, according to a February 2021 profile written by Edwards. “When you’re at work, you go give it your all. When you’re not working, you give respect.”

Edwards, whose report of the Celtics’ interest in Stewart came Thursday after MassLive’s Brian Robb reported Boston was active in trade talks ahead of next week’s NBA draft, added he doesn’t envision Detroit moving on from the kid known as “Beef Stew.” Which makes sense as the Pistons look to rebuild under new head coach Monty Williams.

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But if the Pistons are willing to engage in trade talks involving Stewart, who averaged 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game last season, his third in the NBA, the Celtics definitely should monitor the situation.

While Boston has most of the pieces necessary to win an NBA title, it also has a cupboard of guards with which to navigate the trade market. And searching for that “it” factor — an extra gear or motivational element — should be a priority this summer.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images