The Celtics Season in Review
Boston, MA– For years, I was beyond certain that LeBron James was planning to jump ship from the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Los Angeles Lakers at his first opportunity. The fun he seemed to have on the set of the movie, Trainwreck, and the persistent rumors that he was the steward of a sequel to Space Jam gave me the inkling that he had a desire to a run a show in Hollywood as a basketball star and as a movie producer. Obviously, this prediction came to pass and it aligned perfectly with the need for a new team to rise up and claim supremacy in the Eastern Conference.
When the Boston Celtics battled LeBron in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, coming up just short even without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s two high profile off-season additions, I was so certain that the Celtics would be the new heavyweights in the East. With Kawhi Leonard in Toronto and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, I saw both teams as potential threats, but none could truly hold a candle to Boston. Scroll back on UptoBoston and you’ll see that I predicted the Celtics to storm through the East and potentially unseat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
As right as I was about LeBron, I was dead wrong about the Celtics. Don’t get me wrong, Boston’s window is far from closed, but there’s a pretty big obstacle known as Giannis Antetokounmpo standing in the way. The East belongs to Giannis now as he is easily one of the best players in the entire league. And the series he played against Boston when eliminating them in the conference semifinals is emblematic of how badly things went wrong for Boston along the way.
Kyrie Irving fell apart in the playoffs when it mattered most and his controversial remarks about wanting to get the hell out of Boston laid some rough chemistry for the clubhouse that even began to bubble over into games. Now even the biggest Celtics fans, like Bill Simmons, are itching to drive Kyrie to the airport in free agency.
Hayward never fully blossomed back into the player he was and became an absolute ghost in the semifinals. Hopefull he'll continue to make strides, but right now it seems like his broken leg was a major turning point in his career.
Al Horford claims he wants to stick around in Boston, but we shall see how that plays out and if he even has elite basketball still left in him. Role players like Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris are vital assets, but Terry Rozier feels like quite the opposite. And for as much as Jaylen Brown continues to improve, Jayson Tatum has seemed to be on the decline.
Boston has a lot of options at their current off-season crossroads. Will Brad Stevens even be able to coach all of them? It’s going to be a summer full of questions, but for now, we can only hope that the Celtics learn from their highly disappointing 49-33 eighth place in the league finish. Here’s to next year.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Paul Keleher