Andre Drummond was a full-fledged eldritch horror in Boston on Monday night, dropping 26 points, 22 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals in 40 minutes against the best team in the Eastern Conference. He bullied Boston’s typically stout frontcourt defense all night, working over technical maestro Al Horford and Certified Enormous Human(TM) Aron Baynes, and snagged an inbound pass from Marcus Smart to cap off the win with an enormous exclamation point.
It feels strange to nitpick a team fresh off one one of the longest win streaks in franchise history, but despite how impressive the Celtics have looked this year, there’s still room for improvement. It’s not an overreaction to Wednesday’s loss to Miami to suggest that the Celtics need a rotation change; if anything, the Heat loss highlighted some issues that have plagued the team even during their 16 consecutive wins. They’re prone to slow starts, the second unit can cough up leads with a lack of offensive presence, and they’ve been reliant on fourth-quarter heroics from Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum to beat weaker teams like Atlanta and Brooklyn. I have one suggestion that may help with all of these issues, however, and it’s something I never really expected to consider: starting Marcus Smart.
You may have heard already, but the 2017-18 Boston Celtics are off to perhaps the most noteworthy start in basketball. The Celtics have rattled off 13 straight wins after an 0-2 start, and they’ve overcome a brutal, season-ending leg injury to Gordon Hayward, a concussion scare with Al Horford, and Kyrie Irving’s literal broken face to find ways to keep winning games, all with one of the youngest overall rosters in basketball.