February 1, 2019 ☼ 🏀
I meant to write this up much earlier, but now that everyone thinks Kyire and Durant are going to NY after the Porzingis trade, Kyrie has lost value to other potential suitors. So although Boston probably won’t be able to get anything and will lose him this summer, here is why Boston will be just as good if not better without him.
The main reason I believe this would’ve been the right move for Boston, is because they have a crowded roster1, and Kyrie is the one piece that doesn’t necessarily fit into the style of play Boston has grown into. Heyward has struggled as well, but this is due to health more than anything. Give Heyward a full summer of training after a full healthy year and you will the version we know from Utah will be back. The Utah comparison is apt given the way they shared the ball as a team. Heyward was the best player, but he never required a high volume of shots. This version of Heyward will fit perfectly into what is Boston’s winning formula.
What matters, though, is Jayson Tatum. He is the future of this team. Every decision should be made with the end goal of building around him. I wouldn’t even package him in a trade for Anthony Davis. As great as Davis is, it’s harder to build a team around a superstar big than it is a wing. Even historically, before the current small ball era, it was difficult. Nowadays, it’s only going to get tougher. As much as Davis might be able to dominate a game, when all your resources are invested in your center, the positions that dominate the ball will inevitably fall behind.
Your number two, next to Tatum is Jaylen Brown. He’s a proven defender and he gets better offensively every year. It’s been a tough year for him, but it’s been a battle all season for Boston as a whole.
The real keys to this Celtic team are the Marcus’. Both Smart and Morris bring the grit to this team, that, when they are moving the ball2 turns them into an unstoppable machine. Neither needs to take on a role with a lot of pressure allowing them to go out and play their game.
Plus, they get the punch from Rozier, who can take on some of the scoring you lose with Kyrie. He’s not the same ball handler and shot creator, but beautiful ball movement from the team as a whole will replace him just fine.
Add in Horford, the rock in the middle, and you have a solid core, with a bench I truly believe can out in minutes in a championship series.
Below is an outline of their team without Kyrie. They made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Add years to Brown and Tatum, plus Heyward being healthy. That’s a contender if you ask me.
Sixth Man: Robert Williams
End of Bench: Aron Baynes Daniel Theis Semi Ojeleye Guershon Yabusele