The Celtics may have their championship core. But that doesn’t mean they can just run back the same team and hope for another title run.
NBA exec blasts the Celtics' bench
There are upgrades to make on the roster, especially on the bench, which disappeared in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics only got five points from their bench. Grant Williams, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard were a combined -64.
In a post-mortem piece, ESPN’s Tim Bontempts lays out how the Celtics are poised to buck history and return to the Finals — a feat that other championship losing teams led by young stars have often failed to do. All of their top eight players are signed through at least next season, with Al Horford being the only one whom they don’t control past 2022-23.
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart are signed through 2025-26.
Within the article, Bontemps quotes a couple of NBA execs who lay out their exceptions for the Celtics going forward. One East exec wasn’t very complimentary of their role players, implying the Celtics’ lack of depth could hold them back.
“They have a lot of scrubs,” the exec said about Boston’s bench.
He followed with critiques of Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s ball handling. “[And] they still need a real point guard,” the exec said. “I love Marcus, but he needs another person to help him, and it can't be [Tatum and Brown] because they dribble too much. They need someone else. If Utah [looks to move] Mike Conley, can you put him in there? Someone like that.”
Tatum and Brown both struggled with turnovers in the playoffs, with Tatum becoming the first player in NBA history to commit more than 100 turnovers in a single postseason.
The Celtics could use a veteran backup point guard, which would allow Smart to move to shooting guard when they run out a small lineup. Boston also needs a veteran spot-up shooter, and could use another big man. It’s apparent Ime Udoka isn’t infatuated with Daniel Theis, who barely played against Golden State.
The Celtics are counting on Tatum and Brown to continue to grow. But they need reinforcements, too.