It has been as bad as it gets for the Celtics and Hawks, two Eastern Conference teams that have not lived up to expectations heading into the 2023-22 season.
Both teams are next to each other in the standings, but nowhere near where it was projected, struggling to stay in the image of the Play-In Tournament.
The Celtics are down to 16-19 after a horrendous loss to the Clippers without Paul George or Reggie Jackson. Boston posted second worst 3-point percentage in NBA history (min 40 attempts), going 4 of 42 (9.5%) from beyond the arc in loss.
The Hawks have lost their third straight game, falling to 15-19 after another major loss to the Bulls, allowing Chicago more than 130 points in consecutive games. Since reciting a seven-game winning streak in November, Atlanta has lost 10 of its last 14 games.
The last two Eastern Conference runners-up look anything but title contenders, and three TSN staff members are here to discuss which team they care the most about.
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Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I certainly am more concerned about the Celtics.
In the past week, the Celtics gave the Bucks a double-digit lead in a game in which they led for 47½ minutes, lost to a Timberwolves team led by Jaylen Nowell, Nathan Knight and Greg Monroe and have lost. against the Clippers without Paul George (for the second time this year).
And that only adds to his long list of problems, like several other double-digit tracks, owning the most clutch losses (20) in the NBA and not adding more than two wins in a row on all but one occasion. this season.
Yes, Jayson Tatum and a bunch of other key players were missing from the rotation due to health and safety protocols in recent games, but what team isn’t dealing with the same situation? That doesn’t give a pass to the Celtics, who look like one of the most baffling teams in the NBA every night.
I’m not saying you have to blow her up and trade Tatum or Jaylen Brown, but something has to change. The effort level is inconsistent, the rotations and lineups don’t always make sense, and the offense relies too heavily on its two stars putting up monster numbers to win.
It’s still very early in his head coaching career, but Ime Udoka doesn’t get a pass here either. Everyone from players to coaches to the front office deserves Some blame for this bad start.
Nick Metallinos (@NickMetallinos): The Celtics are what worries me the most. If I were a Celtics fan, I would be very concerned.
I think Tatum and Brown are great players, but I don’t think they are the guys to lead a championship team. With each passing season, it seems like all of Danny Ainge’s draft picks and assets over the years will have been for naught. They’re a mid-level baseball club right now, and I’m not sure if Ime Udoka is the right man to straighten the boat right now, and Brad Stevens in front office doesn’t inspire confidence at the moment, either.
I’m not convinced that any of these guys are capable enough to make the shrewd moves necessary to attract more talent through the exchange.
They were there, three conference finals in five seasons says it all, but I think that window may have closed.
Personally, I’m not as concerned about the Hawks because I feel like Atlanta outperformed last season, and I’ve never been as excited about them as everyone else. Yes, Trae Young is amazing, but I got a lot of energy from the 2014-15 Hawks from last year’s team. He had a deep race in top condition, but was unable to back it up the following season. I see history repeating itself this season.
Yash Matange (@ YashMatange2694): Considering his game until the New Year of the 2023-22 season, I’d say I’m more concerned about the Celtics Than the Hawks for a couple of reasons.
While the change in management and coaching could possibly extend the timeline in the current Celtics core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, it’s hard to see them make that leap from a team that reached three conference finals. in the last four. years to a legitimate contender.
Although his defense is ranked in the Top 10, his offensive struggles have been upsetting this season. Take a look at his two most recent games:
Celtics last 2 losses:
– To the Timberwolves that are missing the 5 starters
– To the Clippers who miss Paul George and Reggie Jackson
Jaylen Brown shot 35% and 3-21 from 3 in those 2 games. pic.twitter.com/7Sl9EZnA8g
– StatMuse (@statmuse) December 30, 2023
Through games on Dec. 29, their offense ranks in the bottom third of the league, which is something they will have to work on if they intend to make a title run this season or in the near future with their current center. . They may not have been together as long as centers in Portland, but I think it might be time to make some roster changes there.
As for the Hawks, I think they’re still dealing with the hangover from their successful 2023 postseason run. They’re a young team, they have a couple of cornerstones in Trae Young and John Collins, and they still have a long way to go. to reach its potential in my opinion.
Given that they have entered this season with more or less the same squad and coaching staff, I think they will have the depth to overcome this adversity. I could be wrong, given that their defense is ranked at the lowest level in the league, but I still feel like they have a long way to go before they have to hit the panic button, especially when we compare their situation to Boston’s.