COMMENTARY | If you happen to like watching train wrecks, then the 2013-2014 Boston Celtics are the team for you.
With a lack of ball of movement that would make Carmelo Anthony shake his head, the Celtics are last in the league in assists and 28th in scoring at a paltry 87.5 points per game. Things were expected to be slow out the gate, but they weren't supposed to be quite this bad with an 0-4 start.
If the losses continue they will be like good body shots in boxing, wearing the team down gradually till its will to fight expires. For now, the wind has been knocked out of the Celtics. For them, it's about each player getting back up and becoming humble enough to do the little things that will give the team the best chance to win.The question is if each player believes that and is willing to make sacrifices.
Gerald Wallace has accused the Celtics of selfish play twice already this season, saying that guys seem to be worried about getting their numbers as opposed to getting wins. Wallace is a 12-year veteran who knows about being on bad teams and seeing selfish play. His hustle and will to win supersede his skills, and he might be trying to force his way out of another losing situation with his career winding down. Even if his calling out of teammates isn't coming from the right place so to speak, he may not be completely off base.
Boston's lineup isn't a particularly talented one where one player is placed on pedestal to lead. That should be cleared up once Rajon Rondo returns, but, for now, Jeff Green is assuming the mantle. Green said that one of his goals this season is to average 20 points per game, and it's easy to think he is going to force some shots in order to do so. The context of that statement can be taken as selfish, but Green does need to score for Boston. So, hopefully, Wallace isn't alluding to Green.
Avery Bradley is being forced to play point guard in the absence of Rondo and that has been like having Carl Lewis sing the national anthem. It's just not his thing. He's averaging 3 assists while turning the ball over 3.8 times. Quite frankly, he is pressing and after failing to reach an agreement with the Celtics on a contract extension, he might be looking to "prove" his worth. That doesn't bode well for Boston. He is best suited for a complementary role but is forced to be a leading man before he is ready.
Boston's woes aren't all about selfishness. The Celtics are young, unfamiliar with each other and some guys are playing out of position. Often times, playing players out of position can work to a team's advantage to create mismatches, but that hasn't been the case for the Celtics.
Without a true facilitator to initiate their offense, the C's were expected to run and be active in transition to mask that glaring flaw. Unfortunately, they still can't rebound the ball (27th in the league), which prohibits them from getting out on the break. That in turn has led to the NBA's worst pace at 93.53 for Boston. The one thing the Celtics do lead the league is in turnovers at 21 per game, so that's something, right?
The return of Rondo will help but this team is bad. The problem isn't so much that they are bad, it is that they are worse than originally expected. But maybe this is a year where being bad can be good so that the future can be great.
Warren Shaw is a NBA contributor to Dime Magazine and co-host of the weekly basketball podcast "The Baseline". He has covered various NBA events live while also conducting one on one player interviews. His work can also be found at Celticslife.com and Prosportsblogging.com.
Follow him on Twitter @ShawSportsNBA.
- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Celtics