By: Bryce Fields
After a long offseason, the NBA is finally back in action. Tuesday night the season kicked-off, with two matchups between elite teams. The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers were the first game of the night’s doubleheader, followed by the Golden State Warriors taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a great night of NBA action for sure, but as for the quality of basketball in the Celtics/76ers game – not so much. This leaves one huge question mark for Boston fans to start the season that I discuss below:
The Celtics routed the 76ers despite star Kyrie Irving’s struggles, which makes this question come back up for Boston – who is the best player on their team?
The first game of the 2018-19 NBA season can be described as…. lackluster. Boston controlled the game from the second quarter to the end, and came away with a 105-87 win over the Sixers. While the Celtics did earn the win, Philly also played shitty quite frankly, committing 16 turnovers and shooting under 40% on the night (and less than 19% from behind the three point line – yikes).
They did get the dub’, but one Celtics’ performance should be concerning – Kyrie Irving. He was really, really bad last night. I mean, he scored 7 points by going 2 of freaking 14 from the field and never looked comfortable on the floor. What made it look even worse for Kyrie was that backup point guard Terry Rozier played his ass off, scoring 11 points on 50% shooting off the bench and being +22 points while he was on the court.
This bares a huge question that needs to be figured out ASAP for the Celtics – who is there best player? One game doesn’t make up an entire season, but it was a hell of a time for Kyrie to lay an egg. Boston and Philadelphia are front-runners to win the Eastern Conference, and this was a huge statement game for both teams. Somehow, both teams playing god-awful made the Raptors look better to come out of the East.
Besides Kyrie, Gordon Hayward is another player who is looked at to be a star for the Celts, but he didn’t look great either coming off his injury last year. Going 4-12 for 10 points, Hayward did not look 100%. This isn’t good. The Celtics, who along with the Sixers and Raptors, will be fighting with Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks and Victor Oladipo’s Indiana Pacers for the entirety of the season in the East. Boston needs a star they can depend on every night.
Call me crazy (I really don’t care), but second year forward Jayson Tatum may be the answer. Tatum led the path to victory for the Celtics, tying Joel Embiid for a game-high 23 points on just over 50% shooting. He went 1-5 from behind the three-point line, and would’ve had a stellar performance had a couple more of those dropped for Tatum. He may only be 20 years old and in the second year of his career, but Tatum looked impressive last night. If Kyrie or Hayward can’t take their game to the next level, could Tatum be the star to ride in Boston?