Boston Celtics: For all the offseason change, this team is still the same

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

This season was supposed to be different for the Boston Celtics. After laboring to a 36-36 finish last season and getting eliminated in the first round by the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics shook up the entire core of their franchise in hopes that this season would be different.

Gone was the duo of Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens, although Stevens simply transitioned from the role of head coach to President of Basketball Operations. Gone were guys like Kemba Walker, Tristan Thompson, and Evan Fournier. Coming to town was Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Dennis Schroder. Ime Udoka, formerly an assistant coach on the Brooklyn Nets, was hired to take over the role of head coach.

And yet through six games, the results are still the same as they were in the disheartening 2020-21 season. The team has only managed to go 2-4 so far against a fairly middling slate of opponents, and has managed to throw away three winnable games late in the fourth quarter or overtime in the process. Sound familiar to last season?

The Boston Celtics made a lot of changes over the offseason, but they forgot to change the most important aspect of their team; their play on the court. All the offseason changes have proved to be ineffective thus far, and while it is only six games into an 82 game season, Boston has a lot of work to do to reestablish themselves as one of the top teams in the East.

For all the Boston Celtics change, they remain exactly the same

One only needs to watch the C’s in their first few games to see the striking similarities to last season. Every game, there’s a new area they struggle in, and the message is always the same afterwards; we’ll fix it for next game. But in the process, a new issue arises that ends up tanking them, causing a repeating cycle of inadequacy that has plagued this team for the past year.

In the season opener against the New York Knicks, the team displayed a stunning lack of perimeter defense throughout, particularly in the two overtime periods. They allowed the Knicks to hit five three pointers in the two overtime periods, which would end up killing their chances of winning the game. It’s not an inordinate amount of threes, but in overtime when defenses are supposed to tighten up, allowing shooters wide open threes usually isn’t a good idea.

In their next loss to the Toronto Raptors, they solved their perimeter defense woes, as Toronto shot just 28.6 percent from behind the arc. The problem was, the Raptors mauled the Celtics on the glass, particularly the offensive glass (60 to 42 total, 21 to 10 offensive). The Raptors proceeded to take 18 more shots than Boston, and went on to win the game by 32 points.

The Celtics rebounded with two good wins over the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets, although they certainly weren’t the most convincing victories to say the least. The problem is, they followed that up with a pair of painful losses at the hands of the Washington Wizards.

In the first loss, the issue was effort. It was remedied in the second game, but once again, a new issue arose; the three point shooting. They managed to shoot a paltry 2-26 from behind the arc (7.7 percent), yet somehow managed to send the game to double overtime.

All this adds up to is one big mess. The Boston Celtics have the talent to be winning all these games. Yet the product never manages to add up on the court. It is admittedly just six games in, but there have to be some serious questions asked about this team so far.

First, what is going on with Ime Udoka? His rotation has been completely out of whack to start, and some of his decisions have been downright atrocious. He had multiple chances to draw up plays to win or tie last night’s loss against the Wizards, but they ended up dissolving into absolute chaos. The final play of the loss pretty much sums up Udoka’s missteps as a coach so far.

The second has to be the play of the stars. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have basically been alternating nights where they look like stars, and nights where they look like they had never touched a basketball before the game.

Tatum has now had nights where he has shot 7-30 and 10-32. Brown has had games where he shot 3-13 and 5-16. Simply put, these guys are expected to play like stars on a nightly basis, but so far their production has been wavering to say the least.

And then what’s with the constant errors? Every night it’s something new, and it’s on both the coaches and players to fix it. This isn’t a team that should be losing more games than they are winning. They boast two of the best young stars in the game and still find ways to botch games on a nightly basis.

Next. The key issue holding the Celtics back. dark

Until the Celtics change their product of play on the court, they will continue to go nowhere. All the changes, whether it be the coaching staff, the front office, or the roster, look great on paper. But until the results start to show up on the court, the results will stay the same, and the Boston Celtics will continue to frustrate.