The Boston Celtics of 2021-22 could do themselves a bit of a favor by reaching back into the storied franchise’s past for advice on how to truly unlock their considerable potential, with one Celtics legend Larry Bird proffering up the sage words even before suiting up for the team he’d forge a Hall of Fame career with.
Last season’s Celtics were among the league’s worst in moving the ball, and their win-loss record did plenty of work underscoring why that was no minor problem for the team. A squad some expected to be a borderline contender barely squeaked into the playoffs, and while some of the blame can be laid at the feet of injury and COVID-19, plenty more was a product of stagnant ball movement and self-interested play.
So what would a pre-rookie Larry Legend recommend to these young Celtics then?
“If the other guys score,” said Bird in a 1979 Sports Illustrated interview, “you start seeing a gleam in their eyes.” A gleam that has largely been absent from the Celtics since Isaiah Thomas was on the team in 2017. Without casting blame, one might say that for all the flashiness of scoring in establishing oneself as an individual player, it’s not the skill that winning team basketball requires for championships. “Besides, passing is more of an art than scoring,” related Bird. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1431572389289152513?s=20
Still, it won’t be up to Boston’s best players of today — Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III and Marcus Smart — to simply move the ball for shots to fall. As then-Celtics head coach Bill Fitch said of his incoming wunderkind, “if the guys he’s passing to are throwing up bricks, well, Bird won’t be too good.” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1431617604800720898?s=20
There are some legitimate concerns regarding the shooting ability of some recent acquisitions in the backcourt in Dennis Schroder, Josh Richardson and to a lesser extent Kris Dunn, as well as the perennial worry about Smart’s shot selection. But with the hints we have seen from Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard in Las Vegas Summer League and the return of stretchy big man Al Horford, there’s a good chance this team will be able to put Bird’s counsel to good use so long as everyone knows their role. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=57415,57407,57379,57370] [listicle id=57409]
Source: Yahoo Sports