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Kyrie Irving out for the season

James Morgan, Writer

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       Celtics guard Kyrie Irving has been playing spectacular in his first season with Boston since demanding out of a LeBron controlled cleveland situation. When it comes to statistics he is having one of the most efficient years of his career. 24.4 points per game, 5.1 assists per game, 3.1 rebounds per game with 40-50-90 shooting splits. With his season going as well as any top guard in the league he has succumbed to the injury bug once again in his career. Up to 77 games in the season Kyrie missed 17 of them and will be missing the end of the regular season as well as the playoffs due to knee surgery. The last time Irving missed time in the playoffs was the 2015 finals, when LeBron had to carry the Cavs against the Warriors and lost in 5 games without the superstar point guard.

What’s Next for Boston?

So what’s next for Boston? This season we were supposed to see the the celtics finally come back after their short hiatus of dominance. The trade for Kyrie, the signing of All-star Gordon Hayward, development of young guys like Jaylen Brown and the drafting of Jayson Tatum, and one of the top 10 centers in the league Al Horford who has found a three point shot as well. Hayward had a season ending injury in the first game of the season. Kyrie is now out for the rest of the season. Role players like Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart have been in and out of the lineup due to injuries as well. The celtics were supposed to be first in the east and on their way to dominating the playoffs to the finals. Where are they know? They are sitting three games back behind the raptors and as of right now penciled in to play the Heat in round one.

 

Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens is one of the most relentless coaches in the NBA today. The youngest coach as well is leading the celtics off of an injury plagued season to the second seed and people are still thinking about how the celtics could make the ECF. Stevens has been amazing for the team at drafting, trading, and signing other players. Basically everything you could think of in a dream coach is what you have in Stevens. He has a great offensive system as well as defense as well. The celtics defensive rating is currently number one in the league.

 

The Guard Position

Rozier is averaging 11.4 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. In his third year with the team he has had tremendous growth in his play. This also has to do with the rotation getting deeper and minutes more spread throughout the team due to injury. With Irving down Rozier is going to have to step up along with other guys like veteran Marcus Smart and Shane Larkin. Another guard that is going to have to step up big time in the playoffs is sophomore Jaylen Brown. Brown has started all of the 67 games he has been apart of while putting up numbers like 14 points per game and 5 rebounds along with a PER of 13.1. The Celtics can only go far is Brown and Rozier decide to step up their play and take it to the next level. I will be saying this about all of the positions but it is true, with both of your major stars out for the season you have to have every single role player step up and do their part three thousand times better than they did before to fill the gap.

The Forward Position

Before I go any further in this analysis, I would like to state that Boston likes to play “positionless” basketball. This just means that anyone could do anything on the court. For example you could have Daniel Theis on a pick and pop or Al Horford play the wing and shoot spot up threes for back to back possessions. So the number one guy I have stepping up in this area is none other than the Rookie Jayson Tatum. As a rookie on a team with guys with much more experience than him he is putting up crazy numbers. He has started every game this season as a rookie while putting up numbers such as 13.9 points per game 5 rebounds per game along with 6.8 win shares and 58% true shooting. You don’t see rookies come in every year and put up these numbers, maybe once or twice every 5 seasons. Tatum has been putting up 17 pointer per game since March as well. This is the perfect time to dip into playoff form especially for guys who have never gotten playoff experience like Tatum

Center

Al Horford. That is all. Horford it probably the most key piece in order to win the celtics and get far into the playoffs. Horford is standing at 6-10 and is 31 years old. Horford is averaging the most rebounds on the team with 7.3 as well as third most offensive rebounds in the league at 2.2 per game. His last two years have been better than ever from behind the arc. Horford is skilled enough to change up his game with the new day and age. He is shooting 43.2% from three point range this season while making 1.5 a game. He has only ever attempted 5 three pointers from 2008, when he entered the NBA, to 2014. Horford will be playing a bigger role in the offense in the playoffs because there just isn’t a lot of natural scorers in the rotation while Horford has been one of the most consistent big men since 2012.

My Prediction

The celtics will make it the the ECF. I just don’t see Brad Stevens losing in six games in the second round unless he ends up playing Cleveland or the red hot 76ers. I see them beating the heat in round one and then taking on the Pacers in the second round. Lebron will put an end to the Celtics season and there is no question about that, You need at least one superstar to beat Lebron. Next year, and the next following years will be the celtics time to shine.

 

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Kyrie Irving out for the season