G: Smart, Dunn, Pritchard
G: Josh Richardson, Romeo
F: Jaylen, Nesmith
C: Horford, Rob Williams
Okay, so what am I seeing here?
I am seeing a high level defensive team (top 5) and a 15-20 rated offense which is typical of a high 40s to low 50s win team.
I am seeing an offense that is almost entirely dependent on the individual excellence of Jaylen and Tatum. So if either one of them gets hurt, this team's offense is going to go into the tank and they are going to be a .500 team. If both get hurt, this is 25-30 win team.
There are a lot of question marks in the supporting cast but these question marks are both good questions and bad questions. I've been focused too much on the bad questions.
- Al Horford is as old as dirt. How much decline?
- Rob Williams injury proneness + has been minute controlled in the past. How much can we depend on him?
- Smart & Dunn's injury proneness.
- Romeo is not ready for prime time. How much can we depend on him?
- Nesmith was showing good signs late last season. Was that a mirage or something we can depend on?
- Will PBS strengthen the bench? There is currently no quality depth at PF. There is no dependable vets behind Romeo & Nesmith. And there is no quality 3rd string C behind old man Horford and injury prone Rob Williams.
- Nesmith looked strong in the close of last season. If he takes another step forward, he can be one of the better backup SFs in the league. Starter material even.
- Horford was good for OKC last season. He still looks able to play a good starter's role who makes players around him better.
- Rob Williams showed tantalizing signs last season. If he can be more consistent, he can become a top 15 center in the league. Can he be consistent? Can he stay injury free? Can he play more than 20-25mpg?
- Can Pritchard take a step forward? Can he provide some of the team offense boost that we need next to our star scorers? Pritchard's shooting and steady decision making could be a boon to our dodgy offense.
- Star scorers - how much more will Tatum and Jaylen improve next season? Will Tatum be top 10 NBA? Will Jaylen be a top 15 player?
- Can Romeo learn enough offense to stay on the court and not hurt his team? If he can, he is a major boost to the bench because his defense is very impressive.
My point, yeah there are bad question marks against many of our players but there are also good question marks against many of them too. There are good young players here next to Tatum and Jaylen.
Most likely result is not all good nor all bad. There will be some mixture of good results and bad results from these question marks.
I am seeing a 51 win type team so long as they do not have major injuries which they may because Rob Williams, Marcus Smart and old man Horford are being relied on. Oh and Romeo. Dunn I do not think is being relied on. More 3rd string unless he proves health and shooting reliability.
Injuries could cause major falls but that is true of any team. The odds are just a bit worse for BOS because of the reliance on several injury issue players.
Good analysis that I agree with.
Another bad question: Can Smart play smart? This is one of my biggest concerns looking at our current roster. Personally I thought Smart was terrible last year - poor decision making on offense and regressed defensively. This is coming from a big time supporter of the guy. I can obviously only speculate, but it really did seem like Brad did not instill discipline into our players. He should have benched Smart on multiple occasions for his selfish shot selection and careless passing, much of which contributed to our disjointed offense (I realize our whole team was at fault to an extent). One of the biggest keys IMO is how Udoka envisions Smart's role - and whether he can get Smart to play within himself. When Smart plays to his strengths - secondary playmaking, intelligent shot selection, and above all focusing on being a defensive disruptor - he is remarkably valuable to our team. If he plays like he did last year then we're in for a long year. Right now I'm not comfortable with him being our starting primary ballhandler.
Some other random thoughts:
The addition of Horford helps. He's the antithesis to Tristan "Tunnel Vision" Thompson and he'll give our offense some much needed stability. But I am still concerned about consistent penetration into the paint. Both Brown and Tatum can do so but their playmaking is still developing. I think PP is going to be very important because he does a good job penetrating and keeping his dribble alive.
Looking at the roster I also see a dangerous team in transition. One thing Smart is very good at is outlet passes. This should be helpful in the regular season, but we need to shore up our half court execution.
Our bench overall is still weak. Need a legit backup PF. Not enough shooting from our bench either. Richardson, Romeo and Parker are all suspect from 3. Not expecting much from GWill.