The Celtics May Have Found Their Missing Pieces

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Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics looks on in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

 

After the Boston Celtics started this past season 25-25, they became the hottest team in the NBA over the second half of the schedule, and much of America starting falling in love with them head over heels.

The lovefest only grew stronger in the playoffs when they knocked off the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and outlasted the Miami Heat to reach the NBA Finals.

Boston lost the world championship in six games to the Golden State Warriors, and it became clear they needed more offensive firepower, a better bench and a true point guard and floor general.

On Friday, the Celtics took care of perhaps all those flaws with a couple of deft moves.

They signed free agent sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, then they swung a trade for Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon without surrendering too much.

Boston now has a team that looks like a true championship contender and doesn’t have any real weaknesses.

Even if the Milwaukee Bucks are still the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference next season, the Celtics have to be considered right there with them.

 

Gallinari Will Give Boston Some Pop Off The Bench

During the NBA Finals, the Celtics got very little production from their bench, and it was a factor in their defeat.

Their highest-scoring reserve in the series, Derrick White, averaged 9.8 points in 26.5 minutes per game, but he shot a paltry 32.7 percent from the field.

Although Boston’s starting lineup shot well from 3-point range versus the Warriors, its bench, outside of White, gave it virtually nothing in that department.

Gallinari can solve both problems.

He has a career average of 15.6 points in 29.9 minutes per game, as well as a career accuracy of 38.2 percent from 3-point land.

He can come off the bench and light it up with regularity from the outside while making defenses pay for keying on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Gallinari’s marksmanship can also open things up for Tatum and Brown to attack the hoop more often.

This past season, Boston had to make do with Grant Williams playing the backup 4, but he is just 6-foot-6, and although he is an accurate outside shooter, he’s not any real type of offensive threat.

Gallinari can help make sure the Celtics don’t lose leads when Tatum is resting on the bench.

 

Brogdon Is A Big Acquisition

All through their late-season run, it became increasingly clear that the Celtics lacked a true high-level point guard who could not just be a floor general but could also be a legitimate scoring threat.

Brogdon looks to be the answer, even if he’s an imperfect one.

He has averaged 15.5 points in 30.2 minutes a game throughout his six-year career, including 19.1 points a game this season, and he also has a career average of 4.8 assists per contest.

Brogdon’s 3-point shooting has fluctuated from year to year, but he has made at least 38.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in four of his six seasons.

The concern with him is his durability – he has appeared in at least 70 games in a season just once, and he played in a career-low 36 contests in 2022.

But if he’s healthy, he may just put the Celtics over the top.





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