Celtics vs. Pistons Overreactions: C's missed out on Saddiq Bey

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Justin Leger
·4 min read
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Celtics-Pistons Overreactions: C's missed out on Saddiq Bey originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics fell to the Detroit Pistons for the second time this season on Friday night, 108-102.

Detroit was led by rookie Saddiq Bey (30 points, 7-for-7 from 3-point range) and Delon Wright (22 points, 7-for-9 shooting). The C's got 33 and 27 points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown respectively in the losing effort.

Celtics-Pistons highlights: C's can't stop Bey in 108-102 loss

Here's what we're overreacting to as Boston moves to 13-12 on the season.

1. The C's missed out on Saddiq Bey.

Boston had a chance to draft Bey with the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. It went with Aaron Nesmith instead in that spot, and Bey ended up with the Pistons at No. 19 overall.

(Our own Chris Forsberg had Bey going to Boston in his final NBA Mock Draft).

That has come back to bite the Celtics in their three meetings with Bey and the Pistons this season. The Villanova product was 7-for-11 (23 points) in two games vs. Boston prior to Friday night's matchup. Then, he exploded for a ridiculous 30 points while going a perfect 7-for-7 from beyond the arc.

How's that for a reminder of what you could have had?

Now, in fairness, Bey hasn't been a consistent contributor throughout his rookie campaign. But he sure has been a lot more useful than Nesmith. The C's rookie hasn't seen the court much at all, and is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field (31 percent from 3) in limited action this season.

There's plenty of time for Nesmith to find his rhythm, but it's hard to watch Friday's game and not come away wondering whether the Celtics made the wrong decision.

Verdict: Overreaction

2. The Celtics really miss Marcus Smart.

Since Smart suffered his calf injury on Jan. 30 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, the C's are 3-4 and cycling through starting lineups that, for the most part, aren't getting the job done.

This time it was rookie Payton Pritchard starting in Smart's spot. As incredible as "Fast PP" has been this season, he was a non-factor Friday night with two points (1-for-5 shooting) in 29 minutes.

Obviously, Pritchard isn't the problem, but it's another example of the Celtics' lack of depth at point guard. It also goes beyond the box score as Smart's leadership presence is clearly missed.

Either Boston needs to start thinking long and hard about that traded player exception, or Smart needs to return to provide some relief ASAP. Or both.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

3. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need to get others more involved.

The Celtics reaped the benefits of sharing the rock Thursday night vs. the Toronto Raptors, tallying 30 total assists as Tatum and Brown did a phenomenal job of getting teammates involved. Tatum notched nine assists, and Brown had a career-high of 10. As a result, Semi Ojeleye and Payton Pritchard combined for 44 points and were the key to victory.

It was a different story Friday night as the C's only had 15 assists total vs. Detroit. Tatum did his part with seven, but otherwise, the ball just wasn't moving around.

The point is, the Celtics will only go as far as their supporting cast can take them. Tatum and Brown are budding superstars, but they can't do it alone. That was evident in Friday's defeat, as it has been all season long.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Next up for the C's is a Sunday matchup vs. the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET.