The fabled history of the Boston Celtics has always been looked at with admiration and respect. With 17 NBA championships and 21 appearances in the Finals, they are one of the most respected organizations in NBA history. They have oftentimes been revered as one of the top organizations in history of the NBA. With a grand history of great players, from “Iconic” Larry Bird, to passing extraordinaire, Bob Cousy, and most recently, 24,000 point scorer, Paul Pierce. They have been riddled with great talent, over their historical time frame of existence. Which also includes 27 Hall of Fame players.
A long time ago, back in 2008, when the Celtics made their big move to help out their star, Paul Pierce, they added Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen that helped bring them their 17th championship. It was a “win now or never move” that worked excellently, but also seems like decades ago. They now, want to get back into the Finals sooner than later. Then there was trading Rondo, back in 2014. I was concerned on that idea. His on-ball defense and passing skills were going to be very hard to replicate. But now it looks as if it is a work of genius. This Boston team, may not have a superstar laden team, but they have a complete team with a bunch of contributors. I, personally, would love to see the NBA and the game move toward an era where coaching and strategy can dominate the game more than just players jumping ship and loading their teams with superstars.
Do they seriously have a team that can compete for the NBA Title? From 2011-2014, the Celts have had a dismal record of 145- 166, which is obviously nothing to be too proud of, but recently, they have made some long positive strides into the win column. Based with speed and teamwork alongside with the unheralded skills of Jae Crowder, the Celts are making some quiet noise in the Eastern Conference.
The Celts, made the playoffs last year, and they have showed many improvements and exciting flashes of what their future can bring.
With Crowder scoring 14 a game, and Avery Bradley and his deadeye shooting, added in with the size and mobility of 23 year old Jared Sullinger, they are headed into the right direction, very fast. I fully expect the Celts to make a good run into the playoffs this year, and expect Bradley to pick up even a bit more of the load with scoring. He has a nice mid range game and can also stick it from deep very well.
In a few short years, with this core foundation, they will be a 50-55 win team. With Head Coach, Brad Stevens, and as long as they keep their scheme, they will be a Eastern division champ and be threatening the rest of the East. LeBron and the Cavs are still the best team in the Conference currently, but LeBron is not getting any younger, and in 2-3 short years, the “kid” LeBron will be in the 34 year old age range, and likely slowing down. The Toronto and the Pacers will likely be the teams they will be shouldering up against for the “Beast of the East” title.
They have played with more desperation. They can play hard, and make runs, they are never really out of the game, when down by 10, 12, even 20 points. They consistently play with composure and always play hard. Several of the players on the current rotation on this team, weren’t even on the team on opening night, but here they are. The Celts are playing without a true superstar, and they have made the transition from a sludge fest of superstar signings to back to a team game.
Head Coach Stevens, is playing 10 guys deep, which is amazing. Getting production from Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart in particular, who are adding 20 pts and 7 rebounds between them. Their starters don’t have to conserve their energy so they can run. They can run hard, all the time, full game. Their energy can be spent on fighting for rebounds, taking off on fast breaks, and knuckling up playing defense. These players have a winning game plan for this year, and moving forward. Tyler Zeller, who may not be the fleetest of foot, and for a legit 7 footer, he can get up and down the floor with some decent speed. Their bench play has improved greatly on offense. Even though, I know his jump shot has been hit or miss, but Evan Turner is still a quality producer off the bench. Turner has kind of been a “Mr Jekyll Hyde” but when he’s on, he can drop 25. There are plenty of teams in the league that could benefit from a player like Turner. He is a player that plays best when he is in the spotlight. When he is playing in the playoffs, I expect him to play his best basketball.
The team has been implementing a new style of offense, and Isaiah Thomas has excelled. They just need to strap it down a bit more on the defensive side of things. This is not just a “nice run” by Boston, but a true belief in themselves. The Celts record is better than many may have expected. The most important part of the team, to me, is that the coaching staff is getting the most out of this roster. They have shown they can be a very good team taking off downcourt, off a rebound with a very good fast break, or even on an opponents bucket. They keep teams off balance, they have played fast paced, with an average of around 98 in number of possessions / 48 minutes, good for 3rd in the NBA.
The defense wants to improve some, even if they could get it down to around 99 pts per game, they could be a very real contender. That number would be in the ballpark of East contenders, Toronto and the Cavs, and would even be better off than OKC and Clippers from the West. They have gone through some very tough stretches in their schedule, but the results so far, have been nothing sort of strong.
They are truly a hard working team, that plays together, night in and night out. They have been beating some of the NBA’s bigger named clubs. Having beaten 57% winning team Miami Heat, have pounded the Thunder on the road, by 15 points, and beat the Cavs when Evan Turner dumped 19 on them, and snagged 12 boards. The “upstart” Celtics are playing very well. I see no reason why they cannot make some very real noise in this years tournament. And in a very short time, become a team in the conversation for title contention. Get more NBA info and all of your NBA winners at 10StarPicks.
Written by Tony Karpinski of 10StarPicks.com
Categories: NBA Hoops