It’s a crazy world we live in. President Trump is feuding with the father of a Lakers rookie on Twitter, which is a sentence you wouldn’t know what to do with a few years ago, and the mood needs mellowing. The Celtics rode a 16-game win streak into Miami, so we’re going to give thanks in a weird, fun way: This is me, imagining the C’s as a Thanksgiving meal. Get your grub on.
Brad Stevens is the mashed potatoes. The Irish couldn’t survive without him. He’s not the main course, but he’s maybe the best and most important part of the meal. Everyone is drawn to him, he works well with each individual component, they all seem to take a piece of him with them, and they’re better for it. And he’s white and he’s smooth and he’s Midwestern.
Al Horford is the turkey. There’s nothing really flashy about him, but he’s the centerpiece. Everything goes through him, and this really wouldn’t be a successful meal without him. Even when he’s not at his best, he’s still pretty good, but everything works better when he’s great. And you’re just tired when you get through with him. Just ask Kristaps Porzingis or Ben Simmons.
Kyrie Irving is the apple pie. He’s the perfect finisher. Just so, so divine, better than you imagined, every time. There’s an aura about him. You feel better just sensing he’s there, and when it’s his time, oh, boy, it’s his time. He can be crisp with some spice at the same time, and if all else fails, or if everything’s just sort of vanilla around him, he can carry the meal to a win.
Jayson Tatum is the gravy. You wondered if you needed him when so many other options are appetizing on their own, and you could just let him sit there, soaking it all in, but when you pour on that sauce, everyone’s like, Damn, how did we ever live without him. He’s made from the stock of those who came before him, so silky and smooth, and he’s just a difference-maker.
Jaylen Brown is the stuffing. When he’s on the plate, it’s a bunch of breadcrumbs of goodness adding up to one heaping pile of awesomeness. Some people could argue he’s the best part of the meal, and when you pair him with the gravy, good lord. He can go inside and outside, and he leaves you feeling full after a few spiced-up blocks and a couple of saucy dunks.
Aron Baynes is the biscuits. You can start him or bring him off the bench. He’ll back you up, and he’ll stuff the hell out of you. Still, he’s solid in a familiar old-school sort of way, and when you butter him up in a big mix of turkey, gravy and stuffing, he’s better mopping everything up. Plus, you can put a Pilgrim hat over him to keep him warm and nobody would say a word.
Marcus Smart is the cranberry sauce. If he shoots, you’re in trouble. He muddies everything up, makes you look like you’re bleeding when you’re through him, and you can’t get rid of the stain of him. You’re not even entirely sure you want him, but he always makes the meal better.
Marcus Morris is the ham. You don’t really need him, but he’s a solid substitute. You’re not really sure if you agree with his process, and he can be salty, but he gets the job done and you kind of like the gristle when you need to go ham on some fools. He plays sort of like he was born in the mud, and once the mashed potatoes get a hold of him, he’s pretty damn good, too.
Terry Rozier is the pasta. Someone Italian must’ve put in a good word for him. Maybe Jay Larranaga. When he first showed up, you were like, My plate is full. Do we really need another dish capable of running the show? Then, someone said, Shhh, this is just what they do. You get used to having him around, and then after a few years, you decide, Yeah, this is pasta. Pasta is always good. Plus, Rozier loves spaghetti sandwiches, so it’s only natural.
Daniel Theis is the green bean casserole. He’s long and lean, and he’s underrated. You’re not even sure where he came from. Like, who made this guy? He might’ve originated in Germany. I’m not even sure, to be honest. He looks like he’s ready, so just put him on the table and see if we like him. As it turns out, he’s not bad. He’s actually pretty good for you. And you need that.
Semi Ojeleye is the corn. He’s there to do his job. He’s not going to wow you, but you need the corn. Every Thanksgiving meal since the first has had corn. Is he good for you? I mean, he’s definitely not bad for you. When you’re just forking around with your rotations, he can eat up minutes, and he’s got some bite to him when he’s fresh. Oh, and he can run right through, to the point that he looks no different when he comes out clean on the other side.
Guerschon Yabusele is the sweet potato pie. I feel like Yabu would enjoy a sweet potato pie. He might’ve even enjoy being a sweet potato pie. He’s pleasant and looks like he could eat for 10. He comes in at the end, and he does work. Put a little more whip cream on his game, and man, he could be nice. And everything he does just sort of looks like it should be called a yam:
Shane Larkin is the salad. Like, who brought the salad? This is Thanksgiving. But you kind of have to have the salad around. Sooner or later, someone wants salad, and you’re going to be glad he’s there. Every meal can use a little salad, and he can be useful if you bring him in at the right time, but when he sits out too long, you’ll notice he can go bad pretty quickly.
Abdel Nader is the peas. I’m not sure peas are necessary on Thanksgiving, but some people like them. My dad loves them. I don’t have much use for them. They’re sort of extraneous on this roster. OK, maybe I’ll take a little bit, just to make my dad happy, but only a small portion.
More fun Celtics-themed Thanksgiving reading: I also wrote “How to talk to your family at Thanksgiving like Kyrie Irving” at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I’m thankful for all who’ve subscribed, and don’t forget to spread the word. Don’t forget I’m matching all proceeds this month and donating to suicide prevention in honor of Jaylen Brown’s friend.
Coming next week: “The evolution of Al Horford” and a quarterly report card.