I think he already has been more closely guarded in past 8 or so games. I agree about the passive comment for the first half, as he didnt really put the ball on the ground like we've seen him do more and more.They got a total of zero points in the first half from Vando and Lauri.
As much as I really like Vando having him start next to Lauri is just making it that much more difficult to get Lauri easy points as the defenses are catching up. It's not like the frontcourt was having any success trying to stop Bagley on the other end of the court either. I just feel like there are still a few pieces still missing. Between Lauri, Vando, and Olynyk they got a total of 3 points from their starting frontcourt in the first half. You just can't win games that way. I saw on another board they were calling Lauri passive in this game. Maybe he's a little tired but do think teams are starting to make adjustments and he's going to become the guy opposing defenses game plan for more and more.
They made a few nice little runs in the 2nd half but just couldn't get over the hump. Every time they would get within 4 points something crazy would happen. Simone or Beasley would drive out of control, JC would hoist a bad shot, or Lauri got elbowed in the face without a foul being called. Maybe a more experienced game manager like Conley gets them into their sets but in this case I'm not really sure that's the case. Sexton had a pretty nice game so happy for him. Kessler looked pretty good in his minutes too. Beasley was red hot in the first half but cooled down a bit in the 2nd.
The next 13 games is a gauntlet and going to really decide what they end up doing in January in regards to dealing any of the veteran players. I'm pretty sure Ainge already has an idea what he's going to do but we will see how it plays out.
Regarding Vando, I do agree he is problematic on offense if he is passive but I remember him doing few great cuts and Sexton giving him dimes in the 2nd half. Lauri can feed him from his cuts and rolls as well, as long as he crashes the paint from the weak side and doesnt just space out. It will give us 2 on 1 plays in the paint where Vandos man has to choose who to defend.
Our bigger problems are on defense. Vando cannot defend bigs and KO is a bad rebounder. We need 2 people in the paint when Kessler is not in, and Kessler isnt a perfect solution either.
Essentially each pairing has problems:
Kessler + KO = Two players who cannot guard athletic wings and also weakens our perimeter defense due to lack of speed
Kessler + Vando = No spacing for Lauri on offense
KO + Vando = Struggle in the paint on defense
KO + Beasley = Best offense but paint defense goes worse and rebounding goes from bad to worse
Vando + Beasley = Weak paint defense especially against bigger bodies
It might be worth to try Kessler + Beasley, but I'm not sure Kessler is ready for first team yet.