36-36, 7th in East
Playoff Matchup: (2) Brooklyn Nets
Sean: Kemba Walker
All season the Celtics have relied on the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. To be frank, the results have been mixed. With Brown down and out with an injury, Kemba Walker needs to reassert himself as a force in this league. The guy started an All-Star game a year ago and now he’s relegated to trade rumors, injury concerns and a fanbase who continues to doubt him. For good reason I might add.
I still believe in Kemba Walker and I still believe in this Celtics team. Kemba’s gotta bring it though in order for the C’s to cause a ruckus in these playoffs. (Case in point: his 29 point effort in the Celtics play-in win over Washington). If Kemba is firing on all cylinders, the load on Tatum is at least relieved a bit and everyone else’s role becomes defined. The Celtics need Kemba to at least match Kyrie’s production.
James: Evan Fournier
Ainge brought him on trade deadline day and I’m waiting for the day he can come back into his Orlando form. With a broken down Celtics team who is searching for the second option to be consistent with Jaylen Brown gone for the season, Fournier needs to be able to knock down shots at a high clip and find his rhythm. He’s hard to contain when he shoots 46% from three and puts up 19 a game.
If he can be that guy to back up Kemba and Tatum then that first round series against Brooklyn is going to be very interesting. In his 16 games with Boston he’s put up a measly 13 points a game and leads the team in three point percentage. If stevens can run specific sets and run Fournier off screens it will take some of the scoring load off of Tatum and Kemba. Balance is key in the playoffs and Fournier has that.