Run it back! Boston Celtics offseason recap
The Boston Celtics traded for Brogdon, signed Gallinari, and retained talents during the offseason.
The Boston Celtics made some impressive moves in a summer that is considered the best by many after a successful 2021-22 NBA season, where they climbed all the way back from the 11th seed to falling to the Golden State Warriors in the finals. When we look back at the finals series against the Warriors, the Celtics’ weaknesses are obvious: they lack experience, have relatively poor perimeter defense rotation, and over-rely offensively, on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Attempting to make another Finals run and hopefully winning it all this time, Celtics’ General Manager and former Head Coach Brad Stevens addressed these problems in the best way possible.
On July 9, Stevens made arguably the best trade of this offseason by obtaining point guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers with five players outside of the active rotation and a 2023 first-round draft pick. Brogdon is a great, if not perfect, addition to the Celtics as he is able to share the offensive workload with the “the Jays.” He also plays a decent perimeter defense with his 6-foot-5-inch height and mobility. Since Brogdon has already made five playoff runs with the Milwaukee Bucks, his playoff experience is not a particular concern. On top of all this, Brogdon is an outstanding pick-and-roll player. Using pick-and-roll to target Stephen Curry was a crucial game plan in the 2022 Finals — it is tempting to see what Brogdon can do by forcing his primary defender into a mismatch in a Celtics-Warriors rematch.
Stevens did not stop there. He soon acquired Italian forward Danilo Gallinari, another smart addition to the roster, on July 12. While some might question Gallinari’s defensive ability, his perimeter shooting can definitely bring help to the Celtics off the bench. How Head Coach Ime Udoka will use Gallinari’s talent and cut down his defensive burden is worth examining in the coming season. Unfortunately, Gallinari tore his meniscus while playing for the Italian national team in FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Luckily, he did not hurt his ACL and is expected to return in November.
Stevens’ decision to re-sign center Luke Kornet and forward Sam Hauser remains pivotal. Both players have displayed a level of shooting ability that can come in handy when needed. Hauser has proven himself to be a NBA-level shooter with a 43-percent 3-point shooting despite limited minutes last season. Kornet, on the other hand, gives the Celtics’ bench some size defensively and can make open jumpers. Both Hauser and Kornet are good alternatives to fill the offensive gap that Gallinari’s injury created. As for the defensive end, not much was expected from Gallinari at first, anyway. With forward Grant Williams guarding multiple positions, Brogdon projected to be starting from the bench, and guard Derrick White continuing his defensive effort, the Celtics bench defense will not be something to worry about particularly.
While rumors are that the Celtics were planning to trade Jaylen Brown for Kevin Durant, Durant withdrew his trade request and is now set to start the new season with the Brooklyn Nets. Although trading for Durant would have perhaps given the Celtics its missing piece to hanging that eighteenth banner, the assets that the Celtics would have had to give up were simply too significant to benefit the Celtics in the long term. It is believed that the Nets convinced Durant to stay by showing him the unlikeliness of winning the trophy with another team, after they gave up so much for him during the trade.