What happened to the Celtics bench?
We already knew that there will be times that Ime Udoka won't play Payton Pritchard for defensive reasons, but wasn't White supposed to be a solid defender? He couldn't play down the stretch the final couple games against the Heat because Jimmy Butler was abusing him on defense. And the same seems to be the case this series. Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown all looked burnt out at the end of Game 5, because Udoka couldn't play White since he was a human turnstile.
Unless Payton Pritchard hits some shots when he first comes in, he's not playing. After a solid first round, Daniel Theis, when called upon the games when Robert Williams has been out or banged up, has given the team nothing the past few rounds.
That's the bench. There's failed first round pick Aaron Nesmith, and five G-Leaguers to round out the roster. You know, because it was imperative to avoid the luxury tax right?
Al Horford will be yet another year older next season. Boston needs to upgrade its depth for next year. Derrick White is getting paid starter money, but you can't even play your third guard because he can't guard big guards and he's an inconsistent shooter?
No, Stevens didn't have some great trade deadline. The Celtics had already turned around the season and had won 9 of ten games prior to the deadline deals. Stevens overpaid in draft capital to "upgrade" from Richardson to White and he traded expiring contracts for a contract the Rockets wanted to unload.
White's -64 the last four games. We'd be better off with Langford.— Dylan Young (@fovillian_67) June 14, 2022
And after all that, we're left with a solid starting 5, even though I don't trust the point guard down the stretch and what seems like no bench. So while Jayson Tatum gets the most heat from the national media and fans. And then Jaylen Brown and Smart get theirs, the players who really need to STEP UP as well for games 6 and 7 are Grant Williams and Derrick White.
Boston is already at a depth disadvantage due to the payroll discrepancies. Can't only have 5 guys you can count on. The bench MUST step up.