Following a great playoff run lead by young stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, and with the anticipated return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, This years Celtics Team had very high hopes. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out like many people projected they would have.
Many people are wondering why the Celtics underperformed this year. Here are the main reasons:
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier all regressed from 2017-2018 season.
Each of their RPM (Real Plus Minus) had dipped from the year before, which was the opposite from the thought that these players would improve. Well then what caused the regression of these players? It's a very easy answer: Too many mouths too feed. When you cannot get consistent shot attempts and playing time, your play will be affected. Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, and Gordon Hayward all cut into the minutes of the Celtics young players, which likely caused the regression we saw last year. But don't worry, Tatum and Brown still have the potential to develop into all star caliber NBA players, and should continue to grow as players.
Gordon Hayward under performed this season, which was expected to some extent. Coming off a huge injury, it will take time before you can gain the confidence and ability back. In addition, Hayward also suffered from the Celtics talent level as he couldn't get consistent shots. These two factors combined to make Hayward have one of the worst seasons of his career.
Lack of Chemistry and Team Unity
Anyone from the outside looking in knew that the Celtics were not the tight knit team that they usually are. This can mostly be credited to Kyrie Irving, as he constantly put pressure on the other members of the team
Now that we know what went wrong, lets fix it. Using our mathematical algorithms, we have put together the Celtics Roster for the next season. We optimized the team to get the highest amount of wins, fit the projected salary cap for the 2019-2020 season, and to fit the pace and space play style Brad Stevens wants to play. Lets take a look:
Note: We do not have any future rookies included in our projections, as there is no data available. Win projections and Team Rating Projections were calculated using using RPM, Our Player Projection Algorithm, and our player progression and regression expectation model. The salary cap number for the team additions is an estimate based on expected market price.
Proj Ortg=Projected Offensive rating
Proj Drtg=Projected Defensive Rating
Proj Win %=Projected Winning Percentage
Proj Wins=Projected Wins
Also, the starter minutes might seem a little low, but this is because of expected missed games across the season, as few players ever will play the entire year.
Now lets get to the new faces
Al-Farouq Aminu: A very underrated NBA player, Aminu is one of the better Power Forwards in the NBA. He can shoot well at the 4, which Brad Stevens will love. Aminu will dominate the minutes played at power forward, and will be a big upgrade over Marcus Morris.
Delon Wright: With Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier Gone, another ball handler will be needed off the bench. Delon Wright is another undervalued player in the NBA. He is a good point guard that will help the team on both offense and defense.
Terrence Ross: Ross is Coming off a strong season in Orlando heading into free agency. He fits a need for a backup wing for the Celtics, and will bring a good mix of offense and defense off the bench.
Kyrie Irving: We talked about this one a lot above. Kyrie is one of the best point guards in the NBA, but he is does not fit well with Brad Stevens system, and has taken too many shots and minutes away from other players which has ultimately brought the team down. Irving is mainly an iso player, which does not fit well in a pace and space system. In Brad Stevens first 3 years coaching the Celtics, they ranked top 5 in Pace every season. In the two seasons that Kyrie has been on the roster, they have ranked 25th, and 16th. Letting him go will free up cap space, and will allow Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart to reach their full potential due to greater usage, which is a greater value for the team than having a great point guard, but an average supporting cast. Smart was also ranked #12 out of all point guards in Real Plus-Minus last season, only 5 spots behind Kyrie.
Marcus Morris: He is a good player, but the Celtics are better off letting him go. Brown, Tatum, and Hayward are more productive players, and need more minutes and Usage then they got last season, so Morris is gone. Making this move will be very beneficial for the Celtics win total next season.
Terry Rozier: Its possible that the Celtics could resign Rozier, as he is a restricted free agent. This wouldn't be a bad move for either party as Rozier will see increased minutes, and the team is getting a young player back with great potential that should improve greatly from a down year last season. Unfortunately, the Celtics will likely not have the money to pay Rozier, so I have him leaving.
With this roster, the Celtics will get to return to the pace and space style Stevens likes to play. They will be a more tight knit unit, and have less distractions. This team brings Boston a championship caliber team, while also giving it's young players a chance to reach their potential. This is the optimal roster for the Boston Celtics heading into the 2019-2020 season.