Looking for the silver lining:
- The talent is still there for 50 wins. Kyrie Irving will be the team’s leader, followed closely by Jaylen Brown (25 points on 23 shots vs Cleveland), Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum. Depth will be an issue (though remember they get Marcus Morris back from injury soon), but Irving has a lot to prove, and the guess here is he’s a different player at this stage in his career.
- Brad Stevens. Top 3 coach in the NBA. Guided a misfit crew with no stars to 53 wins last year. Has a history of coaxing the best out of good players; he is now coaching the most talented roster he’s ever had.
- The East is weak. No, really – the East is putrid. If not for a late LeBron takeover Tuesday, the Celtics win that game. The Wizards will be good; the Bucks, too. Do we know for sure Miami is going to be a contender? The Raptors lost a lot and didn’t get better. If you were comparing Top 8 players for the contenders in the East after the Hayward injury, it’d be Cavaliers, Wizards, Celtics.