Sunday, November 19, 2017

What If

The Celtics find themselves in a pretty good position.

OK. A really really good position.

After dropping their first two games of the season, they have rattled off a 15 game winning streak. They haven't lost a game in a month, and own the best record in the NBA.

What could be better?

Of course, most Celtics fans are imagining that it could be better. After all, this team is supposed to have Gordon Hayward in the starting line-up. It wouldn't be a stretch to think that with a healthy Hayward, the Celtics don't lose that first game in Cleveland. After all, they almost pulled it off after overcoming the shock of losing their star player to a gruesome injury. So, if he played the way he was supposed to, that should have been an easy victory. Same, really, goes for the second game. The team was still figuring out what to do with the hole in the line-up. They had to redistribute all their efforts, and they didn't have time to even practice their new roles. So, it's not the world's biggest leap to think they might have won that game too.

So, should the Celtics be 17-0 with a healthy Hayward?

I wonder.

I wonder about the kids. 

I'm not sure if anyone knew that Brown and Tatum would be as good as they are this early. I also wonder if they would have been as good if Hayward were still here.

Right now, both of those kids are in the starting line-up. They are getting regular minutes. They are being counted on to succeed. 

But, not like a top pic is usually counted on. Neither of them have to carry the team on their backs. Neither has to make the big shot. They have Irving to do that for them. But, they're given every chance to succeed. They've taken that opportunity and run with it.

But, what if they had to share the ball with another all-star? What if they had to shave off some of their points? Would they have gotten into the same flow of the game? Would they be in the starting line-up? Would they be energy off the bench? Whatever the role ended up being, it would be a different one. For both of them.

In the end, this could help the Celtics in the future. No, it's not a good thing they lost an all-star for the season. But, the silver lining is definitely the ability to see what these kids really are. Let them learn on the fly.

Reminds me of when Xander Bogaerts arrived on the scene a bit earlier than might have been expected. Suddenly the veteran holding his spot became the veteran clogging his spot. Same this seems to have happened here. While I would never say Hayward was clogging a doesn't look like he needs to hold it anymore either.

Going forward, this will give the Celtics more options in building their roster. They know what they have with these two. (Or, at least as much as you can know after a month.) They can build around this now. They can figure out how they'll fit in around Hayward.

And maybe next year they'll start 17-0.

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