The Boston Celtics will continue to be patient with all their injuries
The Boston Celtics have been dealing with injuries for the majority of the season. They started without Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk and once they returned they lost both Jae Crowder and Al Horford. They had a solid stretch at full strength, but now Isaiah Thomas has suffered a minor injury and has missed back to back games. The Celtics had their best victory of the season against the Magic without Thomas, but they failed to get that signature victory against the Raptors.
The Celtics have been able to compete with some of the better teams in the league, but they are failing to get close victories against some of the stronger contenders, most recently it has been the Raptors, the Rockets and the Spurs.
While the Celtics realize that they have not played well enough, and they have been vocal about their shot comings, the injuries have stunted the growth of their chemistry as a starting unit. The Celtics still know that they can establish better chemistry, and that is how they will finally be a consistent team.
The Celtics have made it clear that they will be patient with their injuries, and that has been the case with three of the five best players on the team. Thomas, Crowder and Horford have all suffered minor injuries, and they have been held out as long as possible. The Celtics will not be rushing anyone into the lineup and they will have to deal with the consequences on the court.
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The Celtics know that they need to do a better job on both ends, but they will not be able to reach their peak until they get more opportunitunities to play together as a full unit. The Celtics were much improved once Crowder and Horford returned, but they have not had a complete game as a team, and the rotation continues to be unsettled.
The Celtics are not dealing with the roster uncertainty of the past, but they will need time before their rotation settles properly. The Celtics have been patient throughout the Stevens tenure, and they have always kept the future in mind. It is not a surprise that the Celtics have been patient with all their injuries, and it is an added bonus with the inexperience of the second unit.
Having such a young team has hurt the Celtics, but these injuries are the best way to speed up their development. The Celtics knew that their second unit would be in a transitional period. Both Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown have been given a great deal of responsibility with the second unit, and they have been getting more and better opportunities because of the injuries.
The Celtics have leaned on their depth a lot in the Stevens era, but there was a clear decline this season. Early on, the bench could not do enough to make up for injuries, leaving the Celtics a shell of the team they were last season. That being said, Rozier has looked a lot more comfortable with the ball in his hands and Brown is starting to consistently make better plays.
The Celtics are always going to be patient with injuries because they will always have the long term in mind. Adding the importance of the growth of their bench, and the Celtics may even be playing it overly safe. The Celtics realize that these second unit players need to get good reps with the team, and they need to get an idea of how to use them properly.
The Celtics have been patient with injuries, and they have also been patient with the rotation. Stevens has a lot of new pieces and a lot of new roles on this team, and their patience gives him a better opportunity to evaluate what each individual is capable of doing, in order to put them in the best possible role for the duration of the season.
At every level, the Celtics have continually practiced patience in the Stevens era, and it is part of the reason why they have always been one of the most improved teams in the second half of seasons.
There is no doubting that the Celtics have not been quite as successful as anticipated, but that has not made them a disappointment in the eyes of the franchise. Even without the injuries, their patience ensures that no one is putting too much stock into how the season begins, and any noise about things not working is strictly external.
Boston’s depth was exposed last time they suffered a key injury, but the opportunities created by those early injuries are why they are in a much better position to stay strong without Thomas now. The Celtics are going to continue to trust that their team will improve the way it has every year with Stevens, and they will not be forcing anything.
Injuries have been far too relevant in the Celtics’ season this year, but the organization is not looking it as an insurmountable problem. They are using their patience with the injuries to get better as an overall team, with the hope that they can stay healthy when things truly come together in the second half of the season.