It has been a disappointingly slow start for the Boston Celtics in the 2021-22 NBA season but are currently enjoying a three-game winning streak. Most of their struggles have come due to shooting slumps endured by two of their brightest stars.
Despite the presence of these elite-level talents, the C's have struggled to achieve any real success in the NBA. Their failure to have deep runs in the playoffs has sparked debate among some league executives.
According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps, several league execs believe the Celtics can still be serious contenders.
"They're stuck in neutral -- and maybe going backwards," an NBA executive said.
An Eastern Conference executive believes a third star will be the final piece for the C's to win a championship.
"They probably need another guy. "I love Al Horford, but he's getting older. And I love (Marcus) Smart. But once you get past Brown and Tatum -- and especially past [Horford and Smart] -- every guy is a question mark for me."
"They're down to two legitimate stars, [and] you normally need three [to win]."
Although you can see reason with the presence of a third star, a Western Conference exec maintains that wins lie in the hands of Tatum and Brown.
"I would put it simply: Jayson and Jaylen's ability to make other players better [is crucial]. If they can't get that third guy, they have to make other players better, and they haven't shown the ability to do that yet."
Regardless, it is still early in the season, and Tatum has only played nine games with Brown. There is still a lot of damage they can do if they play together for longer.
The Celtics will take on the Brooklyn Nets next, which will be a true test of their ability. They are currently ranked 8th with a 10-8 run in the Eastern Conference.