The Boston Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs this past Sunday, marking the third time in four years Boston has lost in the Eastern Conference Finals. They clearly have the talent to go far in the playoffs, but what do they need to take the next step and reach the NBA Finals?
Here are three moves the Celtics should make this off-season.
Extend Jayson Tatum
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Jayson Tatum is a budding star in the league and his performance this season has more than earned a contract extension.
Tatum averaged career highs in points (23.4), rebounds (7), assists (3), and steals (1.4) per game. He was named an All-Star and selected to the All-NBA Third Team in only his third season in the league.
Boston gave Jayson Tatum the keys to the city this season, despite having talented players around him like Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown. Tatum is only 22 years old and should continue to improve each year. The Celtics need to offer him a max contract this off-season to ensure he stays in Boston for years to come.
Jayson Tatum is not only the future of the Celtics but also the future of the NBA.
Draft a Shooter
Most teams in the NBA have a shooter that can knock down any shot from the floor with ease. Not only can they make shots, but they force defenses to stretch out, making it easier for other players to score.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker are all excellent shooters, but they are also all playmakers who have the ball in their hands a lot. The problem can occur when they are on the court at the same time as it results in a lot of isolation basketball.
On the other hand, when the bench enters the game, there aren’t enough scorers on the floor, leaving Tatum or Brown to take all of the shots. Now, although having five players on the court, the Celtics depend on one or two players to carry the scoring while the other starters rest.
If the Celtics draft a shooter in the upcoming NBA Draft, they will be tougher to stop because their first and second units will run more smoothly.
Bring in a Starting Center
Daniel Theis was one of the most important players for the Celtics this season. He was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s biggest player and running the offense at the other end through screens and handoffs.
While he should remain a key part of the game plan, the Celtics need to bring in a starting center who can be a big presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. Two players that would fit great with the Celtics are Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks.
Both of these players are excellent defenders and scorers inside. Turner’s three-point shooting ability and rim protection would help the Celtics tremendously. On the other hand, Robinson has tons of potential entering his third season and would require much less in a trade.
Kemba Walker has only been in Boston for one season. This off-season will allow him to build better chemistry with his teammates and help the team take the jump to the next level. If the Celtics can add the right pieces over the next few months, they will be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and a major title contender next season.