4 takeaways from the Celtics’ disappointing 2020-21 season

The Boston Celtics had a great run in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming 2020-21 season. With the Celtics’ success, the team stayed under the radar, and no one expected the team to lose, especially with Kyrie Irving. But, despite keeping a healthy roster, and a team with young, promising talent, the team was not able to make it to the NBA Finals. To be honest, I was at a loss for words when the Celtics lost.

The Boston Celtics have been among the more successful of NBA teams in recent years, making the playoffs in the past four seasons, winning two NBA titles, and earning two Eastern Conference titles. The team’s success is rooted in their system, which has been in place for years and has proven to be highly effective. This year, though, the Celtics looked a step below their previous standards, lacking the necessary quality to overcome the opposition.

The Boston Celtics’ failed 2020-21 season is over. After finishing the regular season at .500 (36-36), the Celtics won the playoff game against the Washington Wizards, but lost in five games to the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Nets’ big three leads the Nets in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics. The next team is the Milwaukee Bucks. – James Harden: 34 points 10 rebounds 10 assists – Kyrie Irving 25 points 3 rebounds 3 assists – Kevin Durant 24 points 4 rebounds 3 assists pic.twitter.com/9Wa5VvC4AF – ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) 2. June 2021 After reaching the conference finals last year, the Celtics have recorded just one win in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Despite hopes of a championship, the Celtics lost more games than they won (including preseason and postseason games) in one of the most disappointing seasons in club history. Let’s draw four conclusions from Boston’s disappointing 2020-21 season.

Beat Celtics 20-21 in four (4) games

1. Kemba Walker’s days as an NBA star are over

After signing a four-year, $120 million contract with Boston in the summer of 2019, Kemba Walker began his Celtics career with a bang, participating in the Eastern Conference All-Star Game in his first year with the team. Since then, the situation has worsened for the playmaker. Walker struggled with knee problems on the Orlando Babble NBA team last year. One of Walker’s biggest advantages was his long tenure with the Charlotte Hornets. Walker has missed a total of just six games in his last four seasons with the Hornets. However, he missed 16 games in the 2019-20 season shortened by lockouts with Boston due to the pandemic. Walker has not played in consecutive seasons in 2020-21. He was also sidelined at the start of the season for repairs to his left knee, which received a stem cell injection in the offseason. At the end of the year, Walker played in only 43 of 72 possible regular season games. As if missing the entire regular season wasn’t enough, Walker couldn’t stay healthy during the playoffs either. He missed the final two games of the first-round series against the Nets with a bruised left knee. The four-time All-Star was injured in Game 2, suffered discomfort in Game 3 and then couldn’t get back on the field. When Walker did get to play this year, it was painfully obvious that he wasn’t playing at an exceptional level. Walker averaged 19.3 points with 42 percent shooting, his worst performance in 2014-15. He was ineffective, especially early in the season. Kemba Walker. Celtics since 1979-80, through the team’s first 30 games, are the players with the most experience in this area FGA ≥ 225 FG% ≤ .375 3P% ≤ .350 2P% ≤ .400 Kemba Walker – 2020/21 Marcus Smart – 2017/18 not exactly the list you want to be on. – Boston Sports Information (@bostonsportsinf) February 22, 2021. Walker didn’t have much of an impact on the win – the Celtics were mediocre with him (22-21) and without him (14-15). To make matters worse, Walker reached his nadir in the postseason. He averaged just 12.7 points and shot 31.7 percent from the field, including 17.6 percent from midfield in three games. The point guard handed out just 4 assists against 2.7 turnovers on the night. In the entire series, Walker threw just one interception and did not make a single block. Walker makes $30 million a year, which is a staggering amount considering his productivity. He will be hard to trade, especially since his contract runs until 2023. The 31-year-old is now injury prone and it is unlikely he will become a defensive star again. In fact, it’s looking more and more like Walker can’t even be the third-best player on a team in the race for the championship.

2. Marcus Smart – Consumables

The Celtics are 13th in defensive rating. Their supposed best defender, Marcus Smart, has not lived up to his reputation this season. According to Basketball Reference, he ranks 130th in defensive wins and 82nd in defensive plus-minus. Smart’s defensive rating this season was 113.2, far from elite. The combo guard has made the NBA All-Defensive First Team each of the past two years, but his name will not appear on that list in 2021. Smart and the Celtics’ longest-serving player could benefit from a fresh start. The 27-year-old no longer feels like the heart and soul of the club as his defence weakens and his poor decision-making and shot selection remains constant. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that the Celtics have been trying to trade Smart for years. Next season is the final year of Smart’s contract, which increases the likelihood that he will eventually be traded.

3. Jaylen Brown has become a real star

With all the negativity surrounding the Celtics, Jaylen Brown has provided a glimmer of hope with his rise to fame. Brown earned his first All-Star selection, and all things considered, the 24-year-old probably should have been in the running for the Eastern Conference. Brown has emerged as a star throughout his career at Orlando Babble, but this season he has been able to take his game to the next level. He averaged 24.7 points, 6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game, all career highs. He also set records in field goal percentage (48.4), three-point shooting percentage (39.7) and free throw percentage (76.4). Brown is a true two-way player and an excellent wing defender. For his offensive and defensive play, Brown was ranked sixth on the NBA’s Most Progressive Players list for 2020-21. At the Kia 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player Awards, @J30_RANDLE received 98 out of 100 first-time votes from a global group of sports journalists and broadcasters. Full voting results ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ekh07sex7K – NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 25, 2021 Brown’s season was interrupted by a torn ligament in his left wrist. The injury fell in the final week of the season and cost him a chance to play in the postseason. After successful surgery, Brown should be able to play basketball again within three months. Brown is arguably Boston’s second best player behind the exceptional Jason Tatum. For the foreseeable future, the Celtics will build their game around a young duo.

4. Brad Stevens should be on the hot seat

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens got off to a great start this year with three conference finals appearances. He was hired for the 2013-14 season when the franchise was in rebuilding mode. Stevens was especially good in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Stevens led the Celtics to an Eastern Conference record in the 2016-17 season. They reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 despite an uninspiring starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jay Crowder, Amir Johnson and Al Horford. The following year, the Celtics reached the Eastern finals again, despite a season-long injury to their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. These two great training seasons have not gone unnoticed. Stevens was even voted the best coach in the league by general managers of the NBA in the annual poll conducted before the start of the 2018-19 season. Now that there were already serious doubts about whether Stevens should remain Boston’s head coach. The Celtics have a lot of talent, but for the first time since Stevens’ second year with the club, they haven’t been able to set a positive record. It seems like a lot of guys on the team have adapted to Stevens over the course of the season. Stevens often demanded a response from his players after discouraging losses, and more often than not, those team responses didn’t come. Despite a disappointing season, Stevens’ job is apparently secure. Brad Stevens… will be back. The idea that his job would be in jeopardy is just not true. -@wojespn pic.twitter.com/OpSQ6pOHd7 – Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 18, 2021 Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may be right not to comment on Stevens’ one disappointing season. Finally, Stevens is clearly loved by opposing managers, and it would be foolish to fire a man who would be bought immediately on the open market. Still, the Celtics have enough talent to compete with the best teams in the East, but this year’s results are just unacceptable. Stevens probably deserves another season at the helm of the Celtics. However, his job should not be guaranteed beyond next year until the Celtics are a contender again.

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