The Celtics wrap up their first eight games of the season with a win against the Toronto Raptors. The Celtics are 5-3 and have won four of the last five games. Jaylen Brown has taken a big step this year averaging 26.9 ppg scoring efficiently with a 57.7 shooting percentage. Prior to the season starting, the Celtics gave Jayson Tatum a $195 million contract extension and he is showing why as he continues to excel averaging 26.3 ppg and averaging a career high 4 assists including 12 assists against the Detroit Pistons. It is encouraging to see Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown playing at all-star levels as their success is the key to the Celtics overall success. The Celtics young duo are the only ones on the Celtics, other than Marcus Smart who is averaging 12.6 ppg, to be averaging double digits. With no Gordon Hayward this year and Kemba being sidelined for the beginning of the season, the Celtics need their role players to step up. Payton Pritchard has been a big surprise and has shown flashes as someone who can step up this year. Pritchard has been a great spark off the bench when the Celtics start to slow down. He is getting around 20 minutes every game and is making the most out of it averaging 8.6 ppg, 3.1 apg, and shooting the three well at 42.1%. It will be interesting to see how the Celtics use Pritchard once Kemba Walker comes back from his injury.
The Celtics desperately needed a paint anchor for this season because last year Daniel Theis was only averaging 6.6 rebounds per game as the Celtics main big man on the court. They added Tristan Thompson to a two-year $19 million deal this off-season with the hopes that he could be that paint anchor. The Celtics starting lineup was expected to be very good defensively as they added Thompson. Brad Stevens, the head coach for the Celtics, said, “I was hopeful that lineup would be very good defensively.” Unfortunately, the Celtics new starting lineup has been outscored by 18.3 points per possession this year. Luckily, it is early into the season and the Celtics have 64 more games to figure out if having the combination of Theis and Thompson can work out. If you are a Celtics fan I wouldn’t be disappointed the Celtics duo looks great, but other people need to step up the scoring too. When Kemba comes back, he will be able to provide some much needed scoring that the Celtics need.