Listen, you give me any sort of content with Brad and the living legend that is Bob Ryan, I'm clicking every single time. You also throw in some tidbits from Brad about Kemab's iffy knee, well yeah I'd say this is pretty important. As someone who is generally optimistic when it comes to this team, I know you are shocked, I can't lie that this doesn't at least have me 37% concerned.
I just look at the timing of everything. Kemba had 4 months off, was brought back slowly in the bubble, and still had knee issues. The final Celtics game of the season was on September 27th. That was 58 days ago. We're another 28 days from the start of the season. That's a total of 86 days from the final time we've seen Kemba play, and according to Brad nothing has really changed. It'll be some time before Kemba is going full speed??
Obviously, this is what they should be doing. They should be taking it slow. This is why I was so adamant about the backup point guard position being so important for the Celts to address this offseason. They did it in the draft and then with Jeff Teague, which now makes a lot of sense. I don't think this team can replace Kemba's 22/6 on a consistent basis or anything like that, but you're just looking to soften the blow as the team works him back slowly.
At the same time, this is why the Hayward loss is much bigger than people want to admit. Everyone always talks about the playoffs and what their ceiling might be since they didn't really have a healthy Hayward to begin with. But we can't forget about the regular season, and not having that option available especially if they are going to be careful and sit Kemba is a factor.
Maybe this means starting Smart at the point more often and having bigger lineups with both Theis/Thompson in the frontcourt. Maybe we see Grant make some spot starts. There's a chance this is simply Brad being his usual self and playing things safe. But at the same time it's not exactly what I want to hear after all this time off. I want to hear that he's ready to roll. I mean training camp opens in a week.
I don't think it would surprise anyone if we saw Kemba get the Kawhi load management treatment, but seeing as how they just lost an efficient 17 point scorer from their rotation, I do have questions how the offense will make it up on nights where Kemba isn't playing or is limited. In a 72 game season, I say cap him at 50. As we just saw in the playoffs, seeding doesn't really matter. There aren't going to be crowds so it's whatever. What is important is that your most important players are healthy come the playoffs. Give Smart/Jaylen/Tatum/Grant/Thompson some legit run and let the Jays carry you.
Is it the end of the world? No. It's not like he had surgery. But I can't lie that hearing Brad talk this way about Kemba's knee is something I would call "ideal".