The New Look Celtics Poised to Take the East from the King
The 2017-18 Boston Celtics will be under quite a spotlight coming into the season and that is rightfully so. Coming off a season where they finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the undisputed best player on the planet, LeBron James, and his team, The Cleveland Cavaliers down the stretch. Although they were ultimately sent home in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals by those same Cleveland Cavaliers, there was no shortage of memorable moments and flashes of better things to come. For quite some time now the Celtics have had the same consistent goal… stockpile and accumulate as many draft picks as possible in hopes of potentially including them in a package for what Danny Ainge calls “a transformative player”. A term familiar to many diehard Celtics fans as we’ve had it echoed to us more than once by team officials but more specifically team CEO Wyc Grousbeck.
Ever since the era of our beloved big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came to an end, our focus had shifted towards the future with great hope of what is to come. As you know, Ray Allen left to join forces with LeBron down in Miami which proved to be smart as it resulted in another championship ring for the highly acclaimed sharp shooter. As for Pierce and Garnett, they would be packaged for three future unprotected first round picks from the Brooklyn Nets, soon after the trade became one of the greatest heights in recent memory as the Nets quickly broke down and became a lottery team ever since. After years of waiting for the complete and finished return from the trade, we finally have it. The Celtics turned those three first round picks into Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and last but not least Kyrie Irving. Following the mega blockbuster trade it did not take long for the excitement to take hold on Celtics nation.
We had finally gotten ‘the guy’, a true and league wide recognized superstar. 2011-2012 Rookie of the Year…NBA Champion in 2016…All-NBA Third Team selection in 2015…four-time NBA All-Star (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017)…voted a starter in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans where he became the second Cavs player and second-youngest player to ever earn MVP honors of an All-Star Game. He hit arguably the biggest shot in the history of the NBA Finals in game 7 against the reigning champions Golden State Warriors to capture Cleveland’s first professional sports title in over half a century. There is no minimizing the loss that is Isaiah Thomas who was the clear cut heart and soul of the team and more importantly a part of the community. Thomas embodied numerous special traits of the textbook underdog from the undersized last pick in the draft to being a journeyman for the early part of his career.
Danny Ainge along with the rest of the Celtics front office staff have gone completely in on this team and head coach Brad Stevens. It was only two years ago that this operation still seemed to be in the early stages of the rebuilding process. In a blink of an eye the Boston Celtics have become legitimate contenders to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy sooner rather than later. They should have three goals for this upcoming season. One, get over the hump! The Celtics have been the cute runner ups and admirable story behind the Cavs for the majority of the last two years, it’s time they make their stake and let it be know they are not to be played and take down the Cavs to make it to their first Finals in eight years. Two, make strides and grow. Two of the cornerstone pieces of the Celtics future are also two of the youngest on roster in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, get them as much run as possible and let them have their speed bumps and trust the process! Three, let Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving gel and build the chemistry that is required for any star tandem to work and succeed in today’s NBA. This for sure won’t be an overnight success but in due time it will prove to be dynamic as we have seen in a few flashes during the preseason.
Through all the ifs and buts, one thing’s for certain… We will for sure be blessed with a rather interesting basketball season with more than enough storylines to keep us drawn. This may the first NBA regular season in recent memory with an overwhelming favorite, being the Golden State Warriors; that still managed to build up a great amount of hype and we cannot wait.