After a lopsided 126-107 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Celtics will now head into the New Year with a winning record of 3-2. After opening the season with a big win against the Milwaukee Bucks thanks to a game-winning three-pointer from Jayson Tatum, the Celtics then lost by a large margin to the Nets and looked overmatched by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the rest of Brooklyn’s team. The Celtics then split a two game series in Indiana, with Jayson Tatum leading the way in each of these games by putting together a 25 point effort in the first game followed by 27 points in the latter game of the series.
With that said, tonight was the Jaylen Brown show, as he scored a career-high 42 points in just under 29 minutes played. It’s great that the Celtics have two players so talented and so capable of being the primary scoring option any given night, and they will be leaned on heavily throughout the season. When Kemba Walker is healthy enough to return, that will give Boston another elite scorer, however I don’t think this changes the fact that Brown and Tatum are the main guys on this team.
In light of the beginning of the new season, I will list my 3 biggest takeaways from the first few games.
Jaylen Brown And Jayson Tatum Are Becoming Superstars
As I touched on earlier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are both elite players who can match up with almost every other duo in the league. Their games compliment each other so well, and it seems like neither of them care about which one has the big night. They just want to win. It is amazing to see these two studs grow and develop right before our eyes. Regarding the talks of packaging Jaylen Brown in a deal for Houston Rockets star James Harden, I think this is complete nonsense. First off, despite being seven years younger than Harden, Jaylen Brown is already knocking on the door of superstar caliber, and he’s only going to improve. On top of that, as great as Tatum is, I truly believe that Brown is the engine that makes this team go, and without his presence on the both sides of the ball, I think the Celtics would take a major step back. It would be a crime to break up the young, gifted tandem that Danny Ainge drafted and Brad Stevens developed. Celtics fans have to be patient and understand that these two players haven’t even reached their prime yet. Brown and Tatum can lead the Boston Celtics to multiple championships eventually. Superstar talents don’t grow on trees, and to have two of them at such a young age is a blessing that should not be taken for granted.
Payton Pritchard Is Going To Be A Key Role Player
Although the season is still very young, Payton Pritchard is looking like a pleasant surprise for the Celtics. The 26th overall draft pick out of Oregon is averaging 8.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG along with a +/- of +10. He’s been a spark off the bench in every game so far this season and he has great poise and an impressive feel for the game. With Kemba Walker out with a knee injury, it looked like the Celtics would be lacking point guard depth in the beginning of the season, but Pritchard has shown that he’s more than capable of playing meaningful minutes. It’s awesome to see a rookie be so comfortable right out of the gate, and it will be interesting to see how much he can improve this season and in years to come.
Robert Williams Has Shown Great Improvement
Robert Williams has been a very dependable big man for the Celtics in the first few games of the season. Despite still not getting a lot of playing time, Williams has given Boston great energy off the bench as well as a newfound playmaking ability. His instincts have always been elite but we are finally seeing him showcase his abilities and how they can contribute to winning games. His field goal percentage of 87.2% is off the charts and so is his +/- which is a whopping +28. Unfortunately, he’s stuck behind Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis on the depth chart which makes playing time hard to come by for Robert Williams. Let’s hope Robert Williams continues to impress Brad Stevens so that he can carve out a consistent role for himself in the rotation.
Does This Team Have What It Takes?
To me, with a healthy Kemba Walker, there’s no reason why the Celtics shouldn’t be an NBA Finals contender. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have only improved from last season, and having Kemba Walker as the third option shows how talented this team is. They also improved in the frontcourt by adding Tristan Thompson and utilizing Robert Williams who, as I mentioned before, is improving immensely. Let’s not forget that this team almost made the NBA Finals last season had it not been for running into an extremely hot Miami Heat team, and I believe that this year’s additions make the 2020-21 Celtics better suited for a deep postseason run. The Nets have definitely made the Eastern Conference much more difficult, but the Celtics have superstars of their own, and if they get hot at the right time, they can beat anyone.