The Celtics will be vulnerable in the first round of the playoffs, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admitted yesterday, according to Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe. Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Grousbeck said the team is coming off the “worst February” in memory since he assumed control of the team in 2002.
Boston posted a 5-6 record and ended the month with four straight losses. There have also been comments from players that the team lacked unity, along with rumors that Kyrie Irving may be reconsidering the verbal commitment he made to re-sign with the Celtics this summer.
“We also have the capability of losing in the first round,” Grousbeck said. “We have a very, very good set of opponents in the East, all of whom have beaten us in the last month.”
There’s more this morning out of Boston:
- At the end of Friday’s shootaround, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could be seen talking to Jaylen Brown, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Brown, who has struggled to adjust to a reserve role after being the team’s second-leading scorer last season, described Ainge’s comments as encouraging. “Some GMs might not say anything to you,” Brown said. “So I appreciate him. I try to listen to everybody, hear from everybody and their perspective… So, Danny’s definitely one of the people in my ear that I’m tuned in to, just because of his position and what he’s been through.”
- Hall of Famer Kevin McHale warned back in November that the Celtics’ depth might turn out to be a problem because too many players would be expecting significant roles, notes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The return of Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed last year’s playoffs with injuries, meant that Brown, Terry Rozier and others who helped the team reach the Eastern Conference finals were asked to make adjustments. “I think they’re in a spot where they’re trying to keep a lot of players involved and a lot of players happy and catching a rhythm for a lot of players,” McHale said. “That’s always really hard. I’ve always believed that you need to make sure, as a coach, that your three or four top guys are in a great rhythm, and then after that you’re going to have to have guys that fill in and play. You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”
- The Celtics may get a boost with the return of center Aron Baynes, who is listed as questionable for today’s game. A left foot contusion has kept him off the court since February 1.