Celtics Lead

3 Things Celtics Fans Should Watch For in 2019

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Navigating through the endless swamp of “2019 predictions” and “what to look for in 2019” lists is like that scene in the fourth Harry Potter movie (The Goblet of Fire, I know. But not everyone does) where Harry is swimming around and all those mer-people were trying to trap and he had to blast outta there. In this case, you are Harry Potter and you have successfully found yourself at the beautiful surface that is this article.

The Celtics entered 2019 just 5th place in the East– five games behind the Raptors for 1st. At 22-15 following their January 2nd win over Minnesota, Boston is beginning to play at a more consistent level after their 10-10 start to the season. As humans are known to do, we are instantly wondering what will be new in this new year. So what will be new with the Celtics in 2019?

Will Gordon Hayward Improve?

Gordon Hayward’s first season (last year doesn’t count) has been vacillating drastically. Prior to late November, Hayward had been primarily posting negative plus-minuses and shooting at a very low clip. His true shooting percent in October was just 48%, later improving slightly to 54% and 51% in November and December respectively. This coincides with Hayward being pushed to the bench starting on November 19th.

While his minutes haven’t declined much, this was a calculated way to change up the lineups and get some energizers — the two Marcus men — on the floor more often with the starters. Throughout the first portion of the season, he has seemed to shy away from contact and lacked a consistency shooting the ball that we had gotten used to seeing from him when he was in Utah.

There are some positives, however. One is that he has looked better of late, including a breakout game against Minnesota on December 1st where he scored 30 points off the bench. The other good news is that his free throw percentage is at 89, which is usually an indicator that one’s shooting form is in good shape.

Seeing as he is coming off a major injury, it makes sense that he got off to a slow start this year. Look for him to steadily improve as the season goes on.

The new year has treated Gordon well so far, as he popped off for 35 points against the Timberwolves Wednesday night. He went 14-of-18 from the field including 4-of-7 from three. He looked very confident all game long. Look for more games like this as we get deeper into the season.

https://twitter.com/espn/status/1080667449282961409

What to Make Of Jaylen Brown?

Jaylen has just been so confusing. I can’t think of the last time that a high-IQ, high-character, athletic, and young player got worse in his third season. Most say that Jaylen is likely suffering from an identity crisis of sorts with the Celtics this year.

After playing a major part of the team in the playoffs for his first two years, Jaylen is playing 5th fiddle on this Celtics roster. Normally players with his talent and resume are given a larger role in their third season, but with all the talent on this roster, he’s been given less of one. The other point of concern for Jaylen is his three-point percentage is sitting at 28. Unless he ups that percentage, he could be in for a long season and could potentially be moved from the team. The upside, however, is that he has looked better lately, including a 30-point outburst against the Spurs on New Year’s Eve.

Look for Jaylen to eventually get used to his role on the team and contribute more consistently down the stretch.

Banner 18?

Fans entered the year dreaming about “Banner 18” being risen at TD Garden after the 18-19 season. Things, however, have changed drastically after the slow start. Loaded with talent on and off the court, the Celtics are poised to make a deep playoff push despite currently sitting 5th in the conference. As of late, they’ve been figuring out what lineups work and what lineups don’t work. Something that’s gone well is staggering Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart as the two big energizers. Playing them at different times has allowed them to keep the energy of the team up. Look for Brad to keep tinkering with lineups and come playoff time– have this team looking like a finely tuned machine.

 

As always, feel free to share us, comment, or tweet me @TheRucasJohnson

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About Luke Johnson

I'm not the commissioner of the NBA, but I should be. Tweet me @TheRucasJohnson

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