By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Celtics brought a much different group to the table in 2019-20.
It wasn’t enough to push them by the Sixers on Wednesday night, as the Celtics missed countless free throws and never got their offensive touch at anything even close to a passable level in a 107-93 loss to Philadelphia.
But it was must-watch if only because of just how different this team looked compared to the 2018-19 roster that both wowed and frustrated you at insane degrees over the course of last year’s 82-game grind and two-round playoff flameout.
So, just how did all these ex-Celtics do in their debuts in new cities and jerseys?
I know you’re sick of hearing about Kyrie. But maybe this will bring you some joy: Kyrie Irving had a historically good debut for the Nets. A better debut than anybody in league history, actually. Donning Brooklyn colors for the first time, Irving came through with a ridiculous 50 points and zero turnovers (Michael Jordan is the only other player to do that in this situation), and even had a chance to seal the deal on a Brooklyn win with the ball in his hands for the final possession of overtime.
…And the Nets lost.
Irving got his points, and that’s great, but with Kevin Durant expected to miss the entire year due to an Achilles injury, Irving might be in for a rough 2019-20 year if he’s a one-man show. At least he’s where he always wanted to be.
Fittingly, it was the Celtics got the first look at Al Horford in Philadelphia Blue on Wednesday, and it didn’t take long for Horford to play a factor in a Boston loss. Getting the nod as Philly’s starting power forward, Horford helped a Slenderman-sized Sixer group punish the Celtics whenever they dared drive to the hoop, and finished with 16 points in the win.
For all the grief the 2018-19 Celtics got for failing to live up to their championship-level expectations, Marcus Morris always seemed like one of the guys that the Celtics could have afforded to keep around for another run. Not in the true dollar-and-cents respect, of course, but because of what he meant as a versatile option within the lineup and as the no-nonsense (albeit combustible) enforcer on the floor. But Morris took his talents to New York for real minutes and an opportunity at another payday, and looked more than capable in a losing effort, with a Knicks-high 26 points on a 9-for-18 effort from the field.
After allegedly sacrificing more than anybody else in an effort to make it work for the 2018-19 Celtics, Terry Rozier finally got his first chance to show the league what he truly do as the No. 1 option on a team. It went, well, probably anything but the way Rozier envisioned it. Getting the nod as Charlotte’s starting point guard for their first game of the season, Rozier finished with a starter-low seven points on a 2-for-10 shooting night and a team-worst minus-18 rating in 30:25 in a 126-125 win. Yeesh.
Terry Rozier Stepback Airball 3 pic.twitter.com/m6XUiKS8a4— Gustavo Vega (@iamvega1982) October 23, 2019
The Celtics tried to find a playoff-caliber suitor for Aron Baynes in the midst of their summertime roster purge and came up empty, leaving Baynes jettisoned to the Basketball Siberia known as Phoenix as a member of the Suns. And still with the Suns, the Australian center checked in for just 9:47 (the fourth-fewest minutes on the team) in a blowout win over the Kings on Wednesday. Baynes finished with five points on 2-for-3 shooting and two rebounds in his Suns cameo. Get this guy back to a contender as soon as possible.