It’s safe to say the Boston Celtics season didn’t go as anticipated. After making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Celtics labored through a 36-36 regular season, and were promptly eliminated by the Brooklyn Nets in a quick five game first round series.
While there were some positive developments at times this year, this was pretty much a lost season for the Celtics. Just a year after making a deep run in the playoffs, and with basically the entire team returning, they couldn’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together this time around, and it resulted in a rather disappointing season.
While the blame can’t solely be placed on one player or issue, there are a few players whose struggles personified what this team was going through on the season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three Celtics players who didn’t live up to their expectations this season.
No. 3: The Boston Celtics bench
It would be wrong to call out just one person off the bench here when the whole unit struggled for the entire season.
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Aside from brief flashes of potential from a couple of the guys off the bench, this unit was easily one of the Celtics biggest letdowns of the season. The lack of production off the bench is a big reason the Celtics are currently on vacation and not playing basketball right now.
Let’s start with the guards.
Payton Pritchard was the only consistent contributor off the bench for this group, and almost immediately passed over Jeff Teague, Carson Edwards, and Tremont Waters on the depth chart.
Teague was a free agent signing who was expected to be able to come off the bench as the sixth man, but he was so bad during his time with Boston that he was traded away at the trade deadline.
Edwards and Waters are more complicated cases. Edwards appears to be nothing more than a volume shooter off the bench who doesn’t hit nearly enough shots to fill that role, while Waters has shown some potential to be a solid bench ballhandler. Neither guy was able to carve out any sort of role off of the bench however, and their time in Boston may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
The wing rotation was even worse. Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye are basically the same player at this point, as they have been molded into three-and-d guys who can’t really shoot the ball. Both were in and out of the rotation, and it feels like at least one of these guys won’t be back next season.
Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford showed why they were both drafted 14th overall in the NBA draft at times this season, but those moments were fleeting, and often left something to be desired. Both are still young, and should be given time to develop, but it was clear they were in over their heads at times this season.
Jabari Parker also showed some potential down the stretch, but he could be bumped out of the picture depending on how Boston’s offseason goes.
The big man rotation never really felt settled this season either, partially due to injury. Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson never really meshed together, and Theis was promptly dumped at the trade deadline. That basically left Thompson and Rob Williams, but with Williams missing time with injury, it was basically just Thompson at times this season.
The Celtics picked up two bigs at the trade deadline in Mo Wagner and Luke Kornet, but Wagner was so bad in his time in Boston that he almost immediately got cut.
Kornet showed more off the bat and kept his spot over Wagner, but after that he was pretty much unplayable, and lost his spot in the rotation.
Tacko Fall also resides as a reclamation project as sorts, but this spot was a mess all season.
All in all, the bench was a massive letdown whichever way you look at it. It’s now up to Brad Stevens to add some depth to this team to help out his starters, and as we will see in a bit, some of their starters could use some extra help.