Boston Celtics Rankings: How did Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum & more grade out in preseason lists?

Go down

Boston Celtics Rankings: How did Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum & more grade out in preseason lists?

Post by bobheckler on Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:42 am

https://www.masslive.com/expo/sports/erry-2018/09/056d7df5f89032/boston-celtics-rankings-how-di.html



Boston Celtics Rankings: How did Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum & more grade out in preseason lists?



By Tom Westerholm | twesterh@masslive.com | Posted September 20, 2018 at 12:59 PM | Updated September 20, 2018 at 01:03 PM



The offseason is winding down, giving outlets a chance to release their Top 100 rankings -- a chance to anger … essentially every fan base (and many players!) in the NBA.

The two most popular rankings belong to ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and on Thursday, ESPN released it’s top 11-20, which included the final Celtic (unless Robert Williams is in the top 10).

Let’s take a closer look at how the Celtics finished.


Terry Rozier

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 82

There’s some agreement here, at least, and it’s pretty amazing that the Celtics could have a player who might be the second off the bench in the top 100. Rozier is ranked behind Dennis Schroeder here, which doesn’t feel right, but it’s probably fair to assume Rozier is only going up from 82 as his career progresses.


ESPN - 82

Rozier is ranked 11 spots higher than Markelle Fultz on ESPN’s list, which -- if it bears out as reasonable over the regular season and beyond -- would be a not-insignificant disaster for the Philadelphia 76ers. Beyond just the optics of trading what amounted to Jayson Tatum for Fultz, Philly would have to suffer the ignominy of having traded Tatum (and a great pick) to Boston for a player ranked lower than Boston’s second back-up guard.


Marcus Smart

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - Unranked

The disparity in Marcus Smart rankings here sums him up brilliantly -- most observers either believe Smart is terrible, or they could see something like an Andre Iguodala-esque Finals MVP in his future. Sports Illustrated likely looked at his devastatingly low 3-point percentage and his lack of explosive speed and dropped him out of the top 10.

It’s fair to do so!


ESPN - 55

ESPN, meanwhile, ranked Smart based on his defense and his basketball IQ. In a 5-on-5 recapping the first part of their top 100, Brian Windhorst wrote that Smart is the fourth-best Celtics wing, but he could be the best on certain nights, and some of those nights may come in May and June. He’s not wrong. ESPN is banking on the intangibles -- the winning plays immeasurable by numbers.

It’s fair to do so!


Jaylen Brown

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 47

In this range, the best way to compare players may be to look at those around them. SI believes Jaylen Brown will be less valuable than the likes of Gary Harris and Otto Porter, but more valuable than Devin Booker.

Two ways to look at Brown: He might not get as many opportunities, playing alongside so many stars, but he also had an incredible jump from first to second year. Second to third could be special.  


ESPN - 37

He’s higher than Otto Porter here, so there’s that.


Gordon Hayward

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 25


In these rankings, SI notes that they are being conservative, allowing Hayward to come back slowly from his broken ankle. They also note that Hayward’s game is “deeply agreeable,” which is about as good a phrase to describe his skill set as I’ve seen. He’s an excellent, versatile defender, a good shooter and shot creator and a very good ball-handler and passer. That's easy to fit in anywhere.


ESPN - 40

And you thought Sports Illustrated was being conservative!

On the one hand, durability is incredibly valuable. On the other, Hayward never missed more than 10 games in a season prior to last year. He might miss more this year, especially at the beginning of the season, but barring any setback, it’s not unreasonable to expect late-season health (when it matters most).


Jayson Tatum

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 39

Ranking young players is complicated, and it’s doubly complicated on the Celtics. How do you evaluate a player who was the best scorer on an Eastern Conference finalist at age 20, but who will likely have to take a slight backseat role with Kyrie Irving’s return? SI (after getting a brief dig in at Boston media’s early obsession with Tatum) noted that he is too talented to be buried, even on a budding super team. They probably aren’t wrong on either account.

Although for the record, we (the Boston media) were right about Tatum!


ESPN - 24

And here’s the other end of the spectrum. Brian Windhorst said he believes Tatum has an outside shot at being a top-10 player THIS YEAR.

The guy is really good at hooping.



Al Horford

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 16


Give SI credit: They are consistent in their rankings. Based on how they rated everyone else -- prioritizing health, defense and versatility -- Horford is the best Celtic. They have him ranked highest here (by one).


ESPN - 34

This just seems incorrect.

ESPN’s rationale for dropping Horford this low notes the “diminished value of big men,” but bigs like Horford have actually increased in value -- he guarded both bigs AND players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons, and he runs the offense from the top of the key.


Kyrie Irving

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - 17


Kyrie Irving is a Rorschach Test: What you see speaks volumes about what you value on a basketball court. Critics look at Irving and see a brilliant offensive weapon who doesn’t play defense and is often injured. Others believe Irving’s offense makes up for his poor defense and contend his shot creation -- particularly at the end of games -- has become underrated.

It’s probably worth noting that most of Irving’s health problems have stemmed from his knee, which is now healed and hardware free for the first time since 2015. It’s also probably worth noting that Irving had two procedures done on it in the last six months. Again: What you see speaks volumes.


ESPN - 20

We shall see.

ESPN notes that Irving has the potential for late-playoff heroics once again this year. I’m not entirely sure that will change anyone’s minds, one way or the other.


Takeaways

The Celtics have a ton of talent, and essentially everyone agrees that their top-seven is as good as any team outside Golden State. How good those players are is a matter worthy of debate, given general arguments about skill sets as well as age and health, and the fact that Golden State's talent includes two top-five players may cause problems in June.

But it will be fun to revisit these rankings next year when (fingers crossed) health is removed from the equation. Until then, we are a week away from preseason basketball.  



A Final Note

The Celtics are significantly better than the Heat because most of their players are significantly better than Miami’s. This is such a strange thing to point out.



bob


.
avatar
bobheckler

Posts : 38115
Join date : 2009-10-28

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum