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I will start by stating that I can not remember any September when I have been more excited about the approaching NBA season. The Boston Celtics are locked and loaded and very well could go all the way to Championship #18. But both Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens are firmly entrenched in the real world, so here are a few some vivid facts that may play a role for the team in the very-near future.


The Jabari Bird dilemma:
As a former Police Lieutenant, I dealt with domestic abuse issues almost daily - from the initial complaint from the victim, to the arrest and protective order (209A), to the courts and beyond. The final outcome sometimes resulted in the death of the victim or the suicide of the perpetrator. The allegations in the Bird situation are some of the worst I have seen. Apart from what the courts, NBA and the Celtics determine as a course of action (or non-action), Jabari needs to stay away from the team. This is far-and-above the everyday domestic abuse case.

Gordon Hayward's return:
If you have ever played the game of basketball, you have suffered an injury. Knee injuries are always the most worrisome, with minor ankle injuries not a major concern. Not so the case with Gordon Hayward's injury. He certainly appears to be 100% on the physical side, but the mental part will take time. He won't totally trust that left ankle right away, and I doubt we will see Gordon at 100% of his capacity for a few months. It is just great to see him back in action.

Kyrie Irving's status:
I am not talking about his physical condition right now. His knee seems to be just fine. Kyrie Irving has a player option for the 2019-20 season, and that concerns me - and despite protestations to the contrary, so should Danny Ainge. Kyrie asked out of one contending team, the Cavaliers, and I don't yet view him as a locked-in Celtics player for the future.. The Celtics are clearly focused on a Championship this season, and they almost certainly need Irving to accomplish that. It appears Kyrie loves the bright lights, and New York has those in abundance.

Uncle Drew clearly has the need to shine on the court and on the movie set. Do the Celtics lock him in beyond this season, or do they let this season play out and then deal with contract offers? Or if they feel he may depart, do the Celtics pull off a trade prior to the deadline?


Shooting percentages and shot selection:
This Celtics team is loaded with scorers. Irving, Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Terry Rozier can all score the rock. With this cast, one thing is for sure - the team members all need to improve shot selection, field goal accuracy and free throw percentage. They ranked 21st last season for field goal accuracy at 45.0%. Golden State was #1 at 50.3%. The Celtics ranked 17th on free throw percentage at 77.1%. Golden State was number one at 81.5%. I doubt we will see much hero ball unless there is a dire need for it.

Miscellaneous questions:
Jamal Crawford remains in free agency as of this writing. Do the Celtics go for him? Do they go for Marcus Georges-Hunt, or is there a maximum Marcus-quota? One of our readers has pluralized the potential three-Marcus-unit as "Marci". How about T-Ro? Is he happy on the second unit, or does Boston look to trade him? Will the addition of Kawhi Leonard make the Raptors a real threat to Boston's potential supremacy in the East? All of this will start playing out very soon.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC, NNELTFC.blogspot.com, northwoodssaunterer.blogspot.com and Facebook

Photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Tom Lane 9/15/2018 05:49:00 AM Edit
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