Boston Celtics: Don’t get your hopes up, this team still stinks

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

So much for the Boston Celtics having some positive momentum. After winning their previous two games by a combined 82 points, the C’s came crashing back down to earth against the Atlanta Hawks last night, and saw their record fall back to the .500 mark at 25-25.

It might be the least surprising development of the season. Just when it seems like Boston is set to roll off a nice little win streak, they revert back to their old ways. No shooting, a lack of help off the bench, and an ugly fourth quarter collapse. It’s been the same old song and dance for the past year and a half now, and there’s seemingly no light at the end of this tunnel of mediocrity.

All the questions that seemed to be answered in two resounding wins over the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings have popped right back up after this loss to the Hawks. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who both finally seemed to be figuring things out, labored through horribly inefficient games against Atlanta. They got virtually no help though once again, as their bench only chipped in a measly 17 points.

It’s a frustrating cycle the Celtics find themselves in, and there really aren’t any immediate answers to fix things. Despite how good or bad it may look, Boston always seems to find it’s way back to the .500 mark. Considering the talent on this team, it’s safe to say the Celtics are a bad team. And until some serious changes are made, they are going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

The Boston Celtics need to figure out what the future of this franchise is going to look like

The other day, I made an argument that the Boston Celtics might be better off standing pat at the Trade Deadline. Truth be told, I was never fully in favor of that argument, but seeing how the team demolished both the Wizards and Kings, it didn’t seem too far fetched for the front office to think that a nice win streak before the deadline would be enough to not blow things up midway through the season.

After last night’s loss to the Hawks, that argument should be tossed out the window almost immediately. I got my hopes up that maybe this team was figuring things out, as they finally looked like the team we had all envisioned they would be heading into the season. But it took just one loss to Atlanta to snap everything back into reality.

The truth is that the Celtics need to have a busy deadline if the future of this franchise is going to involve winning and potential championship contention. Tatum and Brown have struggled this season, but they simply have nobody to lean on when they go cold. They combined to shoot just 14/39 last night, but their scoring output (46 points) accounted for exactly half of Boston’s 92 points.

The overarching goal of first year President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens, was to get Tatum and Brown more help, and so far he has failed miserably. Aside from maybe Rob Williams, nobody on this team does nearly enough on a night-to-night basis to help out Boston’s two young stars, and it’s slowly killing this team.

The longer this goes on, the more dangerous things will get for the Boston Celtics. Tatum and Brown are locked up for the next few years, but the NBA is a players league. The more these two guys lose games, the more fed up they are going to get. And if the front office doesn’t get them help, there’s no reason for either of them to not request a trade out of Boston.

So what can be done to help these guys out? For starters, the bench once again needs to be completely overhauled. Guys like Al Horford and Dennis Schroder just serve this team no purpose anymore, and they are preventing young guys like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard from getting minutes that they rightfully deserve. If either of them are on this roster past February 10th, Stevens should get fired on the spot.

Moving guys like this is great, but it needs to be done with a purpose. You can’t just give them away for nothing. Acquire a spot up shooter who can come in off the bench, some draft capital that can be used in another deal, or salary cap relief. The big move to push the Celtics to the next level isn’t going to happen before the Trade Deadline. But if Stevens plays his hand right, he can set the team up to make that move this upcoming offseason.

Next. 2 trades that would shore up Boston's guard depth. dark

It may not seem like it right now, but the Boston Celtics are entering a pivotal time that could determine how successful this franchise will be in the future. They got into this mess because Danny Ainge decided to sit on his hands for too long and watch a bunch of valuable assets go to waste.

Stevens cannot allow the same thing to happen this time around. The Celtics are not good, but the front office has the power to change that, and a solid performance at the Trade Deadline would go a long way towards righting the ship for the C’s.