A preseason review for a team that has won over and over again may not really be necessary or telling, but for those who may not know they have dropped all but one game in the preseason. This has nothing to do with the season by any means.
Golden State is Golden State
Golden State is a team that is capable of turning up the heat within seconds… literally.
Stephen Curry led the way in the highly anticipated preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. His 23 points in 26 minutes are notable. Imagination is key in this scenario because I can only think about “what if he had played 30 plus minutes.” To top it off, Curry added five dimes to his stat line. Those sound like regular season numbers, minus a significant amount of played minutes.
More so impressive is Klay Thompson’s 20 points in 27 minutes and Kevin Durant’s double-double performance with 18 points and snagging down 12 boards. This sounds like the stat line that you would want from the trio, despite the loss.
A downfall that the 2018 defending champs could run into is someone from the bench not being able to step up when Curry, Thompson, or Durant are having an off night. Key returners are Quinn Cook, who had some breakout performances for Golden State last season, the veteran Shaun Livingston, and Andre Iguodala who always has an impact when healthy (also known as “the glue guy”).
Who will run the East?
With the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics chances of running the Eastern Conference are pretty high. Flashback to last season when Irving and Hayward both went down due to injury, the team was still able to flourish and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now that the duo is back, and they return the core of last year’s team, they got even BETTER.
Hayward or Irving have not played much in preseason, as expected. Irving has shown signs that he’s back and ready to kill. He dropped 20 and 4 during the second preseason outing against the Charlotte Hornets. Terry Rozier handled point guard responsibilities once Irving suffered from his season-ending knee surgery. I am interested to see how head coach Brad Stevens allows for the two guards to play together.
Rozier’s aggressiveness is something that the Celtics do not want to lose, and he doesn’t want to fall in the shadows of Irving (realistically he will not). If the two can play together Rozier should be able to relive Irving of some of his point guard duties, and having Irving play the two guard sometimes or vice versa.
Two players that will be essential if the Celtics plan to win out yet again are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With Tatum having a standpoint rookie season, averaging 13.9 points and 5 rebounds the only improvement would be to up his scoring to around 16 per game if not more. With his athleticism and ability to shoot the three, (he finished 43.4 percent from beyond the arc last season) he will get the Celtics to where they want to be. With Brown going into his third year he has conveyed nothing but growth. Rookie season He started 20 of 78 games and averaged 6.6 points in 17.2 minutes. Last season he made major leaps by upping his minutes to 30.7, averaging 14.5 points per game, and starting every game. He would need to improve at the free throw line (64.4 percent in 2017-2018) if he wishes to improve his scoring.