Following a finals loss, the Celtics have started this season with a vengeance. The Celtics are a top-five offense and defense. Jayson Tatum has bounced back from the disappointment of his final with an MVP-caliber year. The bench has stepped up, and overall the Celtics are the best team in the NBA. The Celtics are the first seed in their Eastern Conference and they look poised to make a playoff push. However, there are still some scenarios in which they don’t make it back to the finals and win it. Here are three players who are the X-factors for the Celtics’ playoff push.
Robert Williams is the best shot blocker Boston has. Williams has averaged 1.2 blocks per game. He is a great lob threat on offense and he’s a good passing center. When Robert Williams missed the first part of the year Boston struggled on defense. Since Robert Williams returned Boston has started to look elite on defense again. Robert William’s defense is one of the biggest factors that can determine how far the Celtics make it this year. The Eastern Conference is featured with numerous star centers, and Boston will likely need to go through those teams to make the finals.
Players like Giannis, Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid, and the Cavaliers’ Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, are all elite big men in the east. If the Celtics can limit these bigs they have a very good chance to beat them, and Robert Williams will be the key to limiting them.
Boston struggled to generate points in the 2021 finals against the Warriors. When Jayson Tatum had a bad game the entire team would struggle. The Celtics for this reason swung a trade and acquired Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon has been a huge addition as his playmaking and defensive ability have fit right in with the Celtics.
Brogdon brings a scoring punch off the bench that Boston has not had in a while. Brogdon has averaged 14 points off the bench while shooting 45% from three-point range. There have been occasions this year where Jayson Tatum has had bad games, like one against the 76ers where he scored 12. Despite this, the Celtics pulled through. Brogdon’s scoring ability will be crucial in playoff series and needed if Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum have inefficient games.
Marcus Smart has taken his game to another level this year, averaging a career-high in assists with 7.2 per game. Smart was the main distributor when the Celtics got off to their historic start on offense. Smart’s ability to play make and defend at a high level will be needed in the playoffs. As mentioned with talented centers, the Celtics will have to go through numerous talented guards.
Smart’s ability to defend at a high level against the top guards in the East will be needed. The Celtics will likely have to go through Jrue Holiday, James Harden, and Darius Garland, among others. Smart’s ability to limit them and make sure they don’t take over the game, along with his passing to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, will help them win the title.
Follow StadiumRantHQ on Twitter. Check out our other articles @Stadium Rant. Are you an NFL fan? Have some takes you want to get out into the world? This is the place because we have plenty of opportunities at Stadium Rant spanning the whole NFL and more!