A Fans Thoughts on the Celtics (Part 2)

Evan Fishback, Staff Writer

The Celtics season came to a disappointing end, fitting of the season that they had. They lost in five games to the now clear championship favorite Brooklyn Nets. The downfall of the Celtics season this year was the lack of a shooting threat at the center position. When you look at the teams that are in contention for the NBA Finals, almost all of them have a big man that forces the opponent to guard them on the perimeter. One of the best examples of this was the Clippers/Mavericks series where Kristaps Porzingis’ presence on the outside, despite his weak performance, forced the Clips to guard him, creating open shots for other players.

Some may argue that a stretch five isn’t needed to succeed in the NBA — the Suns, Nets, Jazz, and Clippers are doing just fine without one. The difference between those teams and the Celtics is that the Nets and Jazz are so offensively elite and have so much three-point shooting talent that it negates the effect of not having a good shooting center. The other two, are elite on the other side of the ball, with the Clippers and Suns both having a top five defense.

The C’s certainly need to make some moves regarding their wing play and their ability to stretch the floor at all positions. With their mid-level exception this offseason the Celtics should pursue another solid wing player to come off the bench, someone like Tim Hardaway Jr., Norman Powell, or Danny Green, if they’re available, would be perfect to shore up their bench and add depth where they certainly need it. 

As for the need at big man, the Celtics should look to see who comes available through rumors and should look to not give up much to get a solid piece. With their lack of success recently, I’d look at the Pacers to possibly be sellers this offseason and next season along with the Blazers depending on where Damian Lillard goes.

We have to keep in mind that the Nets series was played without Jaylen Brown. With how close the C’s were in some of the games, it was clear that with a healthy Brown the Celtics could have easily taken Brooklyn to six or seven games. I think Boston still would’ve lost with Brown, but it shows promise for the future. Especially if we can get a coach that regains the locker room.

Players aren’t the only thing that the Celtics need to figure out this offseason though; they also need to figure out who is going to be their head coach. After news broke that President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, would be stepping down and head coach Brad Stevens would be stepping up to take his place, the C’s are currently coach-less and the hunt is on.

As of right now, the favorites are Sam Cassell, Jay Larranga, and Chauncey Billups, according to Bleacher Report. Cassell spent time in Boston, winning a championship with them in 2008. Since then he has bounced around the league from the WIzards, to Clippers, to Sixers. He has the experience as an assistant, but he could have what it takes to be the Celtics head coach.

Next on the list is Larranga, who has been an assistant coach with the Celtics since 2012. He’s been in Boston for awhile and knows the players well, on top of that he knows Stevens and the system. Larranga would likely keep things fairly similar though, and change is likely necessary.

The final candidate is Chauncey Billups; he is like Cassell in the respect that he has plenty of experience as an assistant, but none as a head coach. He’s bounced around to many good teams as well though, going from Detroit and Denver, to now working with Kawhi Leanord and Paul George in Los Angeles. He is another interesting candidate and could be a great mentor for the C’s young talent.

The Celtics should take a Brooklyn Nets approach to hiring. I’d bring in Cassell to be the head coach, then hire Billups to be a mentor and assistant to help out their young core and bring in a winning mentality. Doing all this and keeping Larranga would give Boston a three-headed coaching monster that, if they work well together, could bring a completely new dynamic for the team and hopefully get us over the hump of the Eastern Conference Finals.