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My Celtics core and keepers - feel free to disagree

 The Celtics have completed 38 % of their season and sit with a record of 15-16. I have seen enough to post what I consider the core-trio and a few guys that, barring a significant trade, need to be retained. Feel free to disagree.


It all starts with Jayson Tatum. Chosen as Eastern Conference Player of the Week, it was no coincidence that Jayson also ignited the Play of the Game against the 76'ers, saving the ball from going out of bounds and getting it to Jaylen Brown - who in turn lobbed it to Marcus Smart for the jam.

Yes, that is my core-trio. Jayson has carried the team on his back this season. Brown was high-scorer for Boston with 30 points, and forget the noise about the Jay Teams' skills being redundant. Give me more of that redundancy. The duo combined for 47 points, 14 boards, 10 assists, four steals and two blocks.

And Marcus Smart? Watching him in isolation, I saw a guy playing like it was Game-7 of the Finals. First of all, he needs to be a finalist for Defensive-Player-of-the-Year. He was everywhere on D. And he is constantly penetrating into the paint to kick it out, attempt the layup - or lately, receiving the lob from a teammate. 

The keepers? The two sophomores, Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith, once again last night showed what they can accomplish if released from the bench. In the last two games, P-Squared has regained that poise and confidence we saw last season. And 3Smith? Ime Udoka chooses to direct an offense not well-suited to Aaron's off-ball motion and catch-and-shoot skills. Tweaking those present offensive schemes could turn Nesmith loose.

My readers know my affection for Al Horford, and my hope is that he remains in Boston. Ditto for Grant Williams. But Brad Stevens seems to have plans for this off-season, and he may follow Danny Ainge's lead as a "summer trader". Stay tuned. And disagree with me


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