Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Brad Stevens decided to sit most of his starters for Monday night’s game against Philadelphia, creating a sense of uncertainty as to how his relatively youthful squad of backups would handle themselves.
Quite nicely, thank you.
Boston’s backups had no problem establishing control over the Sixers in the game’s early minutes, and never relenting in delivering a 113-96 drubbing over the Sixers.
The Celtics (3-0) will look to close out their preseason slate of games undefeated when they travel to face Charlotte on Wednesday.
For Boston, the win itself doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The Celtics are one of the better teams in the NBA while the Sixers are improving, they are a team that’s working their way towards being a more competitive team.
But on Monday, they were far from competitive.
They were crushed, in every sense of the word by a Celtics team that put on an impressive display of dominance that you should expect when they face teams like Philadelphia that they should be able to dispose of with little trouble.
So, yeah, Boston played a lot of very young guys on rookie contracts last night. Four of the starting five are on their first NBA contracts, and among the bench players, eight of nine are on their first NBA contracts.
Apart from Aron Baynes, the grizzled vet among the crew at age 30, the oldest players to step on the court for Boston last night were Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis at 25.
They were ranged against what is, more or less, Philly’s opening night starting lineup.
They did ok.
If carrying a twenty point lead into the half, and running the third stringers for most of the second half counts as ok.
I like this supporting cast.
I like what Michael Pina said about the team last night:
Versatility is the name of the game in the NBA nowadays, if you’re not a superstar, and the Celtics have a lot of versatile players. I don’t know how many of these guys the Celtics are going to be able to keep–or how many of them are worth keeping, but one thing’s fairly certain: This is not a team that traded its future to get good right now. They don’t have to hit on every single one of these young guys to make the rebuild worthwhile, not when they’ve also managed to land some genuine talent via free agency.
Having young guys filling out the roster on a team looking to contend long-term is important; you don’t want to find yourself in the situation the Celtics were in toward the end of their last run (or the situation that the Heat and now the Cavs find themselves in–taking flyers on past-it players willing to chase a ring for a vet’s minimum).
Page 2: Where Baynes’ knee reminds us the C’s are short on tall guys
Boston Celtics big man Aron Baynes hyperextended his left knee in the first half of a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
After the game, Brad Stevens said all he knew was the initial diagnosis.
“Don’t know the severity of it, don’t know what it means other than that was what I was told at halftime — he hyperextended his knee,” Stevens said. “He’s going to be re-evaluated after the game, after he’s iced it and everything else.”
Baynes played a couple of possessions after the initial injury. He came up limping under the basket and hobbled back to the defensive end before Stevens sent in Daniel Theis for him, and Baynes went back to the Celtics locker room. He didn’t return to the bench.
So, yeah, on a night where the young Celtics gave us something to look forward to, Aron Baynes got tangled up with another Celtic on a play and hyperextended his knee.
This probably means more minutes for Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis in the early going, unless Baynes is able to bounce back in time for the season-opener next week, which probably means that guys like Tristan Thompson are going to look like All-NBA players against the Celtics. Again.
Looking down the road, the next area the Celtics will need to address is their bigs. The oldest players on their roster are Baynes and Horford, and while Theis looks promising, in the near future they may need to add a couple guys capable of playing big minutes at center when matched up against teams with elite centers.
Finally: The Kids are Alright
Geez I love the sound of a Rickenbacker running through a tube amp.
The rest of the links
MassLive: Marcus Smart waiting for Boston Celtics on contract extension talks, sees money other players are pulling in | Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier star as Boston Celtics down Philadelphia 76ers in preseason action, 113-96 | Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers rookie, shows questionable free-throw form vs. Boston Celtics (watch) | Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics guard, wants to remain with team, but no contract talks yet (report) | Boston Celtics notes: Jayson Tatum’s defense ‘beyond his years,’ according to Brad Stevens
Boston Herald: Celtics notebook: Marcus Smart waiting to talk new contract