Any Celtics fan will tell you that we have a fun team to watch. The grit of Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart mixed with the electric performances of Isaiah Thomas and the fundamental skills of Al Horford make for real enjoyable performances every game night. It would appear that this team gets closer and closer to again competing for a championship. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Do the Celtics Have a Winning Formula?

It’s easy to get excited about this team. But, watching them, especially against better teams, proves that they’re still outmatched. Fact: the Celtics remain challenged in the size department. Al Horford needs a better counterpart. Amir Johnson’s numbers are down this season. Kelly Olynyk isn’t a solid physical presence. And Tyler Zeller doesn’t play for reasons that can’t be explained. More often than not, they lose the rebound battle. You can’t compete for a title with just one solid big man on your roster.

Secondly, relying on Isaiah Thomas as your go-to guy isn’t a winning formula. Yes, Isaiah puts up ridiculous fourth-quarter numbers, and he has won the Celtics many games this season. Every championship team needs a star. But Isaiah’s scoring can’t quite make up for his average defense, poor shot selection, and turnover problem. Has any NBA team ever won a championship with a 5’9 star? No, but if some of the attention could reroute away from Isaiah to a stud three or four, he could be more effective.

What Needs to Happen

Realistically, it’ll take only two players. Acquiring the big man to help out Horford is crucial. Who to get? Not sure, but the assets in Ainge’s pocket make for many possibilities. Secondly, get a star. A star that has the full package – scoring, rebounding, defense, and late-game magic. Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with Golden State over Boston last year was a missed opportunity. But, it’s no secret that Gordon Hayward will be a top target of the Celtics in July. Hayward will be the best available free agent in July. If they can’t land him, Danny will have to fire up the trade machine.

The front office of the Celtics knows that competing with Cleveland this year is a stretch. They know what they need, and that the right combination can land them a star.