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Looking Ahead for Boston

DJ Cantwell, Staff Writer

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The Boston Celtics were shell-shocked at the beginning of this season when their new addition, the all-star forward Gordon Hayward, suffered a season-ending broken ankle. However, all hope is not lost in Boston, as they are currently the top team in the east and have been in the top three on the power rankings for several weeks.

Kyrie Irving has been playing MVP-caliber basketball and is one of the main reasons that the team has seen so much success. Al Horford is the unsung hero of the Celtics as he does a little bit of everything for the team. The young talent has also been very productive in Brown, Tatum, and Rozier.

Even with all these things going right for the team, owner Danny Ainge still has some tricks up his sleeve with highly coveted draft picks still in his possession. Many thought that Hayward’s injury would be the nail in the coffin for this season but it has actually made the players come together and perform at an elite level.

Kyrie Irving’s trade to Boston was a move that most agreed was a success for both sides when it happened. Now that the season has progressed on, it can be said that Boston has won the trade, because of Irving’s ability to not only carry the team but also the fact that he has been arguably the best closer in the league this year. He is at the top of the statistics for fourth quarter scoring, efficiency of scoring, and plus-minus in the final quarter. Irving is currently averaging 23.7 ppg to go along with 4.8 apg and 1.4 spg, which is certainly filling the large shoes that Isaiah Thomas left with his departure. The former number one overall pick in 2011, many thought that he would come into Brad Steven’s offensive scheme and completely ruin it, but those who were skeptical have been proven wrong.

Throughout this season, Al Horford has been averaging 14 ppg, 8 rpg, 5 apg, and 1.1 bpg, while his shooting numbers are all above average as well. Horford is the second best player on the team and has certainly been playing like it: Al has been having a huge impact on the team even without putting up triple doubles or scoring 40 points in a game.

Players that do it all are never getting the credit they deserve but their teammates and coaches understand the overall boost they bring to a team. Horford is Draymond Green-like in that he can be the best player on the court for a stretch of games, all while he is just playing great defense while spacing the floor and moving the ball.

Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum are both in their first and second years in the league but are already making eye opening plays. Jaylen was known for his high level of athleticism before coming into the NBA, but it was only in his second year that he has developed into an excellent defender which the Celtics can rely on. During their 16-game-winning streak Brad Stevens gave Brown the almost impossible task of guarding Kevin Durant when they faced the Warriors, and Brown did an incredible job. Tatum is a rookie that Danny Ainge said he would have taken with the first pick if he had not traded it away showing the high level of confidence he has in the rookie. He has been showing signs of great scoring ability and has gotten comparisons to Paul Pierce, a high honor for a rookie.

Looking ahead, the Celtics still have high draft picks for the next draft. This will allow them to make the decision of either getting another young asset and throwing him in the roster or trading that pick for another high-caliber player to join this winning team.

Ainge has shown incredible patience and great decision making throughout his tenure as the GM in Boston and this year he will add on to the excellent moves he has already made. Boston is a threat to the Cavaliers this year, but in upcoming years, there may be a large shift in who holds the power in the East.

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