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Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward are all signed for next season - no player options. We know enough to expect Marcus to be erratic on offense but dedicated on defense and passing. The other three players are still works in progress, particularly Gordon. But the quartet may form the Celtics core for the near future.

2 Jays on a Hay-Watch

Tatum can be spotty in his play and needs to develop a passing game, but he is a future star. Brown also needs work on increasing his assists, but his overall game keeps improving. Hayward's scoring has been sparse, but he contributes without notching a lot of points. I believe he is mostly recovered physically from the ankle injury, but he definitely needs a different role on the team. The following is from one of our readers:

Randall
I'm not sure Brown has been as good as you all think he has been lately... Having said that, he should 100% be in there instead of Morris. We need to groom these young guys to be our core. Every minute Morris is on the floor is a wasted minute for these other guys to learn. Dude isn't even going to be here next year.

Despite limited point production, Hayward can be a mentor for the Jay-Team. Gordon is a seasoned vet and an All-Star. He plays with intelligence, craftiness and patience, and the youngsters can use some of that.

I visualize Smart, Jayson, Jaylen and Gordon as the Celtics core-of-the-future - but I am far from dismissing this season as lost. Kyrie Irving is doing his best to lead this team, but he gets more frustrated by the minute. Al Horford has a player option for next season, and it is difficult to predict which path he, and the Celtics, will take. Marcus Morris almost certainly will be gone next season, and Terry Rozier is far from a lock to remain in Boston.

The Celtics have 18 games to figure it all out. The key players from last year's post-season run are all back, and here are their points/rebounds/assists lines from the playoffs:
Rozier: 16.5/5.3/5.7
Tatum: 18.5/4.4/2.7
Horford:15.7/8.3/3.3
Brown: 18.0/4.8/1.4
Smart: 9.8/3.7/5.3


Morris is also back from last year, and we add Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis. Nothing says that the Jays can't take flight once again - or that our long Hay-Watch won't be in vain as he hopefully blossoms in the playoffs. Al does well in the post-season, and Smart on the court makes almost any game winnable. Hell, even T-Ro may find his way. Note the 5.3 boards and 5.7 assists in his post-season line. He didn't lose that ability overnight. The final 18 games need to be a lesson in teamwork. There is no one on this team that has all the answers - with no need to learn how to win as a unit.

Follow Tom at @TomLandHC, @CelticsSentinel and Facebook

Photo via commons.tricoli.edu


Tom Lane 3/04/2019 01:42:00 PM Edit
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