Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Romeo Langford is the bonus player that Boston acquired when they conned Philadelphia into trading up to pick a guy that the Celtics had no real interest in to begin with.
Langford projects to be a sort of a shorter Jaylen Brown, long, athletic, and capable of creating his own shot—but with a somewhat suspect shot.
As with Boston’s other rookies, it’s been fun talking about Langford during the summer, but once the regular season starts, if we find ourselves talking about these guys quite a bit, it’s probably not going to be a good thing—Boston’s incoming players as a class should get most of their game-time reps with the Red Claws. If they’re playing extended minutes for the varsity team, it’ll probably be due to injuries to the Celtics’ rotation.
However, Langford may be the C’s rookie in line for the most minutes, if he slots into the SG role that Smart filled coming off the bench.
I’m not sure how to project the Celtics’ upcoming season. Lately it seems the twitter-verse has taken to discounting the C’s future, which, on the one hand seems fair, given the disappointing 2018/19 campaign, and the talent that the Nets and Sixers added during the off-season.
At the same time, the Celtics were playing with–after December, give or take–two guys that we now know didn’t want to be there: Irving (which was something of a surprise) and Rozier (which really wasn’t). Irving, to his credit, at least contributed to the team while he was on the court, but if he was unhappy enough with the situation in Boston that Danny Ainge could pick up on it in March (and Ainge, mind you, usually doesn’t travel with the team, and spends far less time with these guys than we might at first think), you have to think that the rest of the team picked up on that vibe too, and probably sooner than that.
Couple that with some overall immaturity, and you’ve got a recipe for underachievement.
I’m curious to see what the Celtics will do with the first starting-caliber, old-school, offense-first center they’ve had in years, save for their brief dalliance with Shaq. One of the question marks for the C’s, at least in the early going, will be front court defense. This is an area where the C’s need a guy like Williams to show some progress: A reliable lineup that has both Kanter and Williams on the court provides the Celtics with some effective in-game matchups, even if Williams is only a spot starter–or exclusively a bench player.
In terms of who starts and who comes off the bench, I think the Celtics are going to see a dramatic improvement if Smart remains the team’s sixth man, and shifts over to the PG role. Smart has exactly the disposition you want from a sixth man, and I believe, will be a tremendous improvement over Rozier in that assignment.
Team USA’s disappointing showing at the FIBA World Cup notwithstanding, I’m still optimistic about this team’s chances. While expectations for Hayward seem to be swinging back over to ‘potential all-star’, I think that, in general, we aren’t baking those expectations into our projections for the upcoming season. Nobody was surprised that Hayward signed a max contract in 2016, and Boston was not the only team in the league that offered him one, so the narrative that has sort of cropped up since then—that Boston overpaid for a guy who used to play with Stevens and is now stuck with a bad contract—is kind of like the “Kevin McHale did Danny Ainge a favor” narrative: It doesn’t hold up to closer scrutiny.
From top to bottom, this is still the most talented roster in the Eastern Conference, and they should be expected to deliver.