1. Kyrie SHOULD NOT play in the All-Star Game.
Sure, we can have him there in the festivities, maybe even doing a little recruiting (lol), but otherwise we need a healthy Kyrie in the playoffs and this latest injury does not sound like one he can just rush back from (might need to miss a few games + relax during the break). Folks can argue about whether we're better with or without Kyrie, but the truth is, there's no clear answer. But Ainge knows that teams that win championships need a clutch closer and Kyrie is just that. Rozier was phenomenal last year but he was still fairly mediocre in all but one of the road playoff games last year (and we went 1-7 in the road last April-May). We absolutely need him (Kyrie) as healthy as possible for the playoffs if we want to stand a chance against PHI/MIL/TOR.
2. Standings-wise, our best case scenario at this point is probably the 3 seed now.
For a short time, the 2 seed looked catchable (Toronto), but after these last two losses I think even that's no longer a possibility. We're 5.5 back of the 2 seed, but just 1.5 back of IND for the 3 seed (and currently we're just 0.5 back of PHI). I think our ideal, realistic scenario is getting the 3 seed and facing a team like Charlotte in the first round.
However, going in as a 4-5 seed would be brutal as we face PHI first round (possibly w/o home court) and then even if we get by, we face MIL in the 2nd round
3. Brad's got to improve his rotations NOW.
I'd roll a starting lineup of Kyrie/Smart/Brown/Tatum/Horford, with a bench of Rozier/Morris/Hayward/Theis/Baynes. Also, try to have 1 or 2 starters out there at all times even when the 2nd unit comes in and rotate throughout the game. Feels like time and time again we see the second unit come in and the scoring just dries while Kyrie, Tatum and the entire starting unit is just sitting on the bench. Teams like PHI, HOU, etc. do this and it's been effective for them.
4. Do something during the break, like a team-bonding activity.
Morris said last night that the team hasn't had much fun recently out there on the court ("no team, just a bunch of individuals") and that there seems to be disconnect. You could have another simple team meeting... or you could do some team-bonding thing and come together for the final stretch of the year. Maybe then they can come together, work out whatever differences they may have, and then go on an underdog run like the Patriots from March onwards
5. STAY HEALTHY
. Okay, this isn't something you can control, but I'd love for us to be as healthy as possible for the playoffs. I truly think even with all the differences we have now, our BEST shot at making noise in the playoffs is if we're healthy going in. That's why I'm fine with Baynes being kept out for some time now and even some other guys. It sucks for now, but I'd MUCH RATHER have them available for April-May than rush them back now and potentially risk bigger injury.
We hit rock bottom last night, and now it's up to the entire team to dig themselves out, otherwise even I'll admit, we're probably heading for a first round exit
Really sucks to say, but this team seems to be dealing with a lot more problems than we thought now. But I'll still keep the faith!