A 1-4 preseason has undoubtedly left an awful taste in the mouths of the Boston Celtics.
They are without their floor general in Rajon Rondo, but it still doesn’t excuse such a terrible start. Sure, it’s just the preseason, but the Celtics shouldn’t be pleased with such a dreadful prologue to a new season.
Regardless, there have been some intriguing individual performances that should be noted.
MarShon Brooks Puts In Work
MarShon Brooks was a recent acquisition in the trade with the Nets, and there are high hopes that he can mature into a dominant scorer as a Celtic.
While it wasn’t much, his recent outing against the Toronto Raptors provided a glimpse into what might be MarShon’s (hopefully bright) future.
In only 16 minutes of playing time, MarShon contributed 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, and he made five of his six free-throw attempts. Despite snagging three steals, he also coughed up the rock three times—a little too much for someone not necessarily expected to run the offense.
It’s just one game, but this performance was overwhelmingly encouraging.
MarShon was able to demonstrate his willingness to be an offensive catalyst, and it showed he was ready for his number to be called. This was the first time in the preseason he was given a decent chunk of minutes, and rather than looking unprepared, he came out guns blazing, ready to put numbers on the scoreboard.
Hopefully, for the sake of Celtics fans, MarShon performs as effectively when the games actually matter.
Gerald Wallace Shines Off The Bench
Gerald Wallace has bounced around the league as of late, but being a spark plug on this young Celtics squad might be a decent fit if his first game as a Celtic was a sign of things to come.
In Boston’s preseason debut, Wallace shot a highly efficient 6-of-10 from the field and scored a total of 16 points while dishing out four dimes and snagging two defensive boards. And he did it all without a single turnover.
Keep in mind, he accomplished all of this off the bench in 26 minutes of action, and while this was by no means an incredible performance, it’s nice to see a veteran like Wallace coming out to play despite the team’s tough situation.
Wallace went from a playoff contender in Brooklyn to a team in Boston that looks like it's going to fight for a seventh or eigth seed, so it would be tempting as a veteran receiving your paycheck to simply mail it in.
Then again, a guy like Wallace is used to playing for beleaguered squads, considering he spent most of his career playing for some pretty mediocre Bobcats units. Wallace should be expected to perform in a purely complementary role, but if Boston is so lucky to have him put up big numbers—especially off the bench—it should value its veteran pickup.
Wallace is a guy who always plays hard—sometimes too hard.
But even if it’s a losing performance, Wallace guarantees you’ll have a fighting chance thanks to his hustle and grit. Overall, a great sign to see from a player who’s been through it all during his tenure in the league.
Kelly Olynyk Leads The Way
Rookies aren’t always expected to lead the pack, but this was the case for Kelly Olynyk in the Celtic’s lone preseason victory—a 30-point rout of the New York Knicks.
First of all, let’s get his numbers out of the way.
In 25 minutes of preseason glory, Olynyk managed to go 5-of-6 from the field to finish with a game-high 15 points, six boards and three assists. He also recorded two steals and a block to pad his defensive stats.
Numbers aside, Olynyk is still looking just as solid as he did throughout the summer league.
Although he’s a rookie, he plays with a keen sense of level-headed confidence. He doesn’t rush through moves all the time, and he takes what he can get without forcing the action. In other words, his efficient shooting numbers are a reflection of his ability to be productive without jeopardizing entire possessions.
It lets us know he’s in the right spots when he’s supposed to be.
As a big man, if you move without the ball, your guards will often find you for easy finishes, but knowing how to stay mobile in the half court is a science of its own. Olynyk isn’t the most athletically gifted guy, and you wouldn’t use the word “mesmerizing” to describe his style of play, but he’s one of those players whose basketball intelligence makes up for the lack of athletic prowess.
The Celtics should be very pleased with him, but they should also remember to temper their expectations. As with the other intriguing outings we’ve highlighted, it’s important not to be prisoners of the moment.
But for now, Olynyk and his newly added comrades appear to be nice pieces to have as Boston prepares to move into uncharted territory.