By @mshirtad May P.
It’s been 7 games into the season so far and after a slow 0-4 start, the Celtics have won 3 in a row, including yesterday’s nail-biting win over the defending champs, the Miami Heat. Although it’s still too early in the season to make a call on where the Celtics will finish, here are some early observations.
1. Avery Bradley is not a point guard
This is a pretty obvious one. Bradley isn’t a bad player – in fact, he is one of the best defensive players in the league but he’s just terrible in the point guard position. He appeared lost half the time he was bringing the ball up the court and made too many careless passes that resulted in turnovers. He just can’t run the offence – plain and simple. Bradley was finally moved to shooting guard in the C’s game against the Jazz and Crawford was given point guard duties. The result was significantly better with the Celtics grabbing their first win of the season. Before that game, the Celtics were averaging 21 turnovers a game – the worst average in the league. Against the Jazz that number dropped to 14. Against the Magic the C’s only committed 11 turnovers and 14 against the Heat last night.
Bradley’s move to the two has paid off for Stevens thus far. Also, he seems to be playing more freely with impressive defensive efforts in the 4th quarter against the Magic and also his season high 17-points (8 of 14 shooting) on Saturday helped the Celtics get on top of the Heat. For whatever reason, running the offence appears to paralyse him. At the two, his raw talent takes charge. When he’s there, he’s not over thinking and just does what he does best. When Rondo fully recovers, Bradley’s offence is likely to improve as the All-Star point guard will provide him with better looks. For now, Crawford is Steven’s go to option and it’s working thus far.
2. Vitor Faverani was a steal
It’s safe to say the the C’s found a gem in Brazilian big man Faverani. Although he’s crashed back to Earth after an impressive start, the rookie still has a lot to learn – especially the blazing speed of the NBA. Hopefully he regains his form soon because boy, were his numbers impressive in his first two games where he tallied 25 points, 9 blocks and 21 rebounds (this included an outstanding performance against the Bucks which saw him finish with 12 point, 18 rebound, 6 block performance).
3. Marshon Brooks is a bench warmer
Many expected Brooks to reestablish himself after failing to gain regular minutes with the Nets last season. However, things appear to be the same. He’s only played one game this season (6.9 minutes) and has been benched with DNPs for the rest. For a guy that was compared to Kobe Bryant during the draft, he hasn’t been living up to that expectation. After shining in his first season with the Nets and getting selected in the NBA All Rookie Second Team, everything has gone downhill. A major factor is his lack of playing time but for now it seems like Brooks may be traded before the season is over.
4. Kris Humphries and Phil Pressey need more playing time
With Crawford now at the point, Pressey has been moved up the rotation and given more minutes. The rookie has talent and he will develop this season. The little things that Pressey does do at the moment helps the Celtics immensely. In the game against the Jazz, Pressey ran the offence for a good 17 minutes grabbing his first points in the NBA. He was poised in his role and played intelligently – something you’d want in a back up point guard. What the undrafted Pressey lacks in size, he makes up for it in confidence. Have no doubt, Pressey will be great to watch in the days ahead.
As for Kris Humphries, post failed marriage and all that publicity, he was actually averaging a double-double in each game. In the 2011-12 season he was averaging a career high 11 rebounds and 13.8 points a game in 34.9 minutes. If he’s given minutes, hopefully he’ll be able to replicate this form for the C’s. Putting Humphries in will also raise his stock if he were to be traded later. The league loves a guy who has above average rebounding. This makes Humphries a valuable trade asset for the Celtics.
What are your thoughts on the Celtics’ start so far?