Boston Celtics: Predicting the primary game plan for the 2017-18 season

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Kyrie Irving
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Kyrie Irving /

Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have brought in a whole new wave of talent, making this season a lot more interesting.

During the off-season, General Manager Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens retooled the Boston Celtics, hopefully putting them in a better position to compete. They made a blockbuster trade to get Kyrie Irving.

The team also made some great draft night decisions in Semi Ojeleye and Jayson Tatum. They’ve added solid contributors in Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes, and signed Gordon Hayward, arguably the biggest free agent of this past year.

Another thing that they did was partially build from within. Abdel Nader and Jaylen Brown are two players who have been with the organization for only a year and have progressed greatly. As far as development goes, Marcus Smart is Stevens’s greatest project of his career. He has progressed into a nightmare for opposing scorers. The former Oklahoma State guard can also hit the three better than he could in college. He has been nothing but a success in green.

With all of these factors, it is time to find a way to make it all mesh. If it is done right, then this is a championship team. If not, then it could be a blunder.

Boston Celtics
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 2: Kyrie Irving /

Play styles

The first thing to consider before building a game plan is play styles. How does your personnel prefer to play the game? What are their strengths? Does one player do something another can’t? How does the other team play?

Play styles are a huge part of building a game plan in any sport. In football, your defensive coordinator always looks at the playmakers for the other squad. What type of throws can their QB make on a consistent basis? Can he run? Can he avoid pressure and still make a good throw? All of these factors contribute to what looks your coordinator’s defense throws at the other team.

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On this year’s Celtics squad, there are a ton of ball dominant players, players who do best when they have the ball in their hands. They added Kyrie Irving, arguably the best ball handler in the league and one of the best isolation scorers the league has ever seen. They drafted Jayson Tatum, a solid isolation scorer with a ton of moves in his arsenal. He is great at making moves on his drives to the hoop. Al Horford is essentially a Chris Webber who can shoot. He can make plays with the ball in his hand is a point forward with a great set of post moves. Gordon Hayward has a great scoring touch, with the newfound ability to create shots off the dribble.

All of these guys need to get the ball. Brad Stevens needs to find a way to get the ball into all of their hands.

The art of the isolation

Kobe Bryant is solely responsible for revolutionizing isolation plays. Top scorers in the league are usually great in isolation situations. Kyrie Irving turns a pick and roll into an isolation and usually finds a way to score. Jayson Tatum was one of the best isolation scorers that Duke has ever seen. The point: the Boston Celtics have players that could be or are great in isolation scenarios.

I know that you could make a drinking game out of the amount of times I’ve said isolation, but hear me out. The Celtics have a chance to just let their guys play, everyone gets the ball, and everyone gets the chance to make plays. The C’s could have 4 players averaging 15 points or more, which would be fantastic.

What about the bench?

Ok, enough about the starters, this year’s bench unit doesn’t look very deep on paper, but so far in the postseason they have proven to be very talented. It is a fresh set of energy with around the same skill sets as the starters. For example, Terry Rozier is a high flying, athletic guard who can drive to the basket quickly and effectively. His offensive skill set is like an unpolished Kyrie Irving.

Jaylen Brown is a little bit of everything. He doesn’t compare to anyone on the Celtics, but he is a great weapon coming off the bench. He could be the guy to play like Tony Allen did for the C’s on the 2008 championship squad, a spark of energy that can lock down the toughest matchup while also scoring some points on the offensive side of the ball.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics /

Even though he is likely a starter this season, I will put Marcus Morris in with the bench players. I see him spending most of his playing time with the second unit anyways. He is set to make an impact for this team, especially on the offensive end. He will hit some big shots and help move the ball around.

Even though the starters can play big minutes, this young and athletic bench group will be a big factor in whether or not the Celtics make it deep in the playoffs, or into the playoffs at all.

In closing…

The Celtics have a tough matchup to start the season, as they face Cleveland in the first game of the season. Bleacher Report has said that the team has announced that their lineup is as follows to start the season:

G- Kyrie Irving

F- Jaylen Brown

F- Gordon Hayward

F- Jayson Tatum

C- Al Horford

This lineup is perfect for the sort of position-less basketball Brad Stevens has talked about running. There will be plenty of isolations, pick and pops, and dribble drives on the offensive end. This could be the most versatile lineup Boston has ever ran.

Next: Boston Celtics are being overlooked in NBA Power Rankings

Let’s see how well they do with a complete makeover and the best odds to make the finals in the East.