Regardless of the suspended season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many positives can be taken, as the Boston Celtics currently sit at third place in the Eastern Conference with a clinched playoff spot.
Even with their slew of injuries to their starting five throughout the season, the “Hospital Celtics” continued to grind out close victories and stay in contention with the other Eastern Conference juggernauts. Brad Stevens was able to receive contributions from all areas from the depth chart, and some players even improved from the increase in playing time. Without further ado, let’s get to the winners and losers of this Celtics season:
Winner: Jayson Tatum, Power Forward
Did anyone expect this out of Tatum? Following a solid rookie season where he made the All-Rookie team, Tatum experienced a sophomore slump and created some doubt regarding his potential. However, he exploded this past season by averaging 23.6 points per game, which is 7.9 points more than he averaged during his second season. Tatum seems more confident with the ball in his hands and has lessened his habit of taking contested jump shots. He has blossomed into a superstar this season and was the biggest contributor for the Celtics down the stretch.
Loser: Romeo Langford, Shooting Guard
I personally believe that Langford gets more criticism than he deserves. Taken at the 14th overall pick during last year’s draft, Langford raised some red flags during the preseason due to thumb and groin injuries and missed the first 24 games of the season. Following his handful of injuries during the early part of the season, Langford never gained his confidence on the floor and only scored double-digit points once in 26 games. It wasn’t an ideal start to his NBA career, but Langford still has plenty of time to prove his worth.
Winner: Jaylen Brown, Small Forward
Brown has been one of the most consistent players for the Celtics over the past three seasons. On the court, he plays with poise and confidence as he is never afraid to attack the rim. Believe it or not, Brown actually had a higher effective field goal percentage than Tatum and had a .552 two-point field goal percentage, which was also higher than Tatum’s (.479). Brown is effective on both sides of the floor and will continue to make an impact for the Celtics in the coming years.
Loser: Semi Ojeleye, Power Forward
In my humble opinion, Ojeleye is lucky to still have a spot on the Celtics depth chart. I have grievances with Ojeleye due to his erratic shot selection and subpar defense. If not due to the handful of injuries that the Celtics roster suffered, there’s a good chance that Ojeleye wouldn’t have played as much as he did. Ojeleye posted the worst defensive rating on the team (111) and had a team-worst 8.8 usage percentage when on the offensive side of the ball. Ojeleye’s contract is up after next season, and there’s a good chance that he won’t be in a Celtics uniform.