The Boston Celtics opened the preseason last night with a big W against the Charlotte Hornets. The contest was won convincingly, with a double-digit victory over the improving franchise, who made a few moves this offseason in hope of adding a few pieces to compliment their budding star, Kemba Walker. First, they acquired the underwhelming Dwight Howard in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, and then just a few days later they drafted University of Kentucky stud, Malik Monk, with the eleventh overall pick in this year's draft. The final score of the first preseason game was 94-82.
There was a lot to take away from this game, as it was the first time that we've seen the majority of this team in green. We saw Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward play together for the first time. We witnessed Jayson Tatum and our other rookies playing against legit NBA talent for the first time. We got to see Aron Baynes push some people around, and were privileged to be able to watch the new and improved Marcus Smart run around the court. Tommy Heinsohn was even in mid-season form, hitting us with potentially the best call that we'll hear all season.
It was a great night to watch some Celtics' basketball.
But there is one thing that some Celtics' fans are criticizing: that the team passed too much. I love it! Passing too much is such a great problem to have, especially after the team's first time on the court together, because that will be altered when the regular season arrives. Things can only get better from here.
Kyrie said Cs even made "extra, extra pass" sometimes. "And when you’re in a group like that, you know you’re playing with some great guys.”
Do you remember in 2007 when we acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett? The big topics of debate at that time were: who will take the game winning shot!? Will the players begin to resent one another for stealing each other's spotlight!? How will these superstars handle taking a backseat in crunch time!?
We see the same conversation every time a super-team is created. It happened when Kevin Durant decided to slither to the Golden State Warriors. It happened on a smaller scale when Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets. And now we're seeing it more than ever with this new Oklahoma City Thunder team, who have three, shoot-first players leading their squad.
So it's comforting to know that we don't have that issue to worry about; that we won't be hearing about it every morning on our way to work while we listen to sport's radio. Wait, I may have spoken falsely. We probably will be hearing it on the radio, because those bozos make everything into a topic of debate. They make the non-issues into issues, and that's exactly what we have here folks: a non-issue. The Celtics passing too much is not a problem.
If anything, it's encouraging. We now know that the guys who are accustomed to having the ball in their hands will be okay with sharing the rock, and here, I'm referring mostly to Kyrie. The Cs' new one guard has always been an isolation player who shoots before he passes. Since arriving in Boston, he's said that he wants to change those ways, and that he wants to become a true point-guard; one who can run the point and get his teammates involved. Well, he showed us last night that he's making strides in making this happen.
I hope that Kyrie can complete his transformation, because one thing that I've been sick of watching for the past few seasons is the isolation offense that Isaiah Thomas ran. Don't get me wrong, it worked. Isaiah made me eat my words time and time again, but it's just not a style of play that will help you win a ring, unless of course, your name is LeBron James. I mean, look at last year's MVP Russel Westbrook: the Thunder's entire offense ran through him. He was responsible for getting all of the points, unassisted, and his team was almost swept by the Rockets in the playoffs' first round. You can't beat good teams with that mono-a-mono strategy. There needs to be more movement, where there's some element of surprise, so that there's some uneasiness in the defense.
With our new team moving the ball around like they did last night, we'll have defenses running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They won't know who to cover, and if the right guy is left open, then we'll be seeing buckets. Many, many buckets.
I hope we'll see more of what we saw last night! Keep the ball moving, fellas.