LOS ANGELES – You never like to put too much stock into any particular stretch of the season.
But listening to the Celtics following their 103-95 loss to the now-14 win Orlando Magic, the Celtics head west searching for continuity, a rekindled resolve and maybe most important, a clearer path towards where they are and just how far they can go with this current crew.
So as basketball junkies crunch the numbers, analyze and then over-analyze the data, there’s one factor in all this that has for the most part been ignored in their ascension to the top of the Eastern Conference mountaintop – their youth.
We talk about it in the context of 19-year-old Jayson Tatum who does some amazing things that players who have been in the league for years, do not do.
But as you start to look at tis roster and see players like rookie Semi Ojeleye, 25-year-old fellow rookie Daniel Theis from Germany and Tatum play in crunch time, it’s a reminder that these kids have grown up pretty fast all things considered.
However, they are still prone to make the mistakes of youth and maybe just as significant, have stretches when they just don’t play with the kind of consistency required to be one of the top teams in the NBA.
Boston (34-13) has shown itself capable of playing with the big boys in the NBA, despite being a team littered wit bunch of young pups in terms of experience and chemistry.
And while what many may see as a team that’s trying to find its way through a rough patch of games, that’s not what’s going on.
These are growing pains, the kind that every team goes through to some extent.
But the struggles seem more pronounced with a team with so many young players.
That’s why the idea of adding a player (a shooter please) is one that the Celtics are seriously looking into on all levels of play.
Now mind you, Boston has an $8.4 million disabled player exception from the Gordon Hayward injury which they can use to add a player who is in the final year of his contract.
Most teams let it lapse without using it, but I’m told the Celtics have every intention of using it because as we’ve seen of late, there’s a clear and undeniable need for this team to add a scorer, be it in the frontcourt or on the perimeter.
They need a steady perimeter scorer, the kind of player that can hit the ground but more important, hit shots.
Boston is first going to go the G-League route which has led to them signing Jarell Eddie to a 10-day contract with the hope that he can show more promise than their current roster that’s full of perimeter players who have been inconsistent shooters all season.
Even during their season-best 16 game winning streak and later when they reeled off seven in a row, their success was rooted in good defense and ho-hum offense.
We’re deep enough into the season to have a pretty good feel for who the Celtics are, and yet there’s still enough time for them to make a radical change and still have plenty of time before the postseason arrives.
That’s why this west coast trip is about more than just trying to right the ship; it’s about determining if Danny Ainge needs to switch up the crew with some addition by subtraction.
It’s no secret that the Celtics could use some added depth in a number of areas.
But the most glaring weakness right now is perimeter shooting, which is why Jarell Eddie is here.
The Celtics signed him to a 10-day contract because the players they have already signed to guaranteed deals have been anything but a guarantee to make shots.
And while some perceive that as something lacking in the players, the only thing we know for sure that they lack is experience which is something time takes care of as this Boston team continues to come of age, one youngster at a time.