If you were like me, you might have been “hate-watching” game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Celtics and Bucks. After halftime, the team looked dead in the water with blank stares looking towards the offseason. Many may blame Kyrie and his moody 16-year old attitude, however, some of the blame can actually go on the team itself.
In 2012-13, When the Celtics lost game 6 of their 1st round series against the Knicks (Yes, the Knicks were once a good team) Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett walked off the floor of the garden as members of the C’s for the final time. Then…….the trade happened. The Celtics traded all-stars for picks meaning the rebuild was on.
After a 25-57 season in 2013-14, the C’s rebounded by blindly walking into a playoff appearance and getting swept by Cleveland. That season led “green-teamers” into thinking this roster could be built into a playoff contender. Day by day, this team improved with its point guard who nobody really knew about in Isaiah Thomas. Thomas brought this team back to being in the discussion of Eastern Conference Champions. During the IT experience, the draft classes proved to work very well for the C’s. Brown, Tatum, Smart, Rozier and even Kelly Olynyk proved to be valuable to a team that was going through their own process.
The 2016-2017 may have been the season where things took a turn. The Celtics finished first in the eastern conference for the first time in a long time. After series wins against Chicago and Washington, the Cleveland Cavaliers and King James stood in the way of the team and the NBA Finals. The series was UGLY! Yes, Avery Bradley hit a buzzer beater to win a game, but unfortunately, the Celtics lost by 44 points in their own building and lost the series in a gentleman’s sweep (4-1)
Danny Ainge eventually traded an injured Isaiah Thomas and others to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. I was like many fans, excited to see Uncle Drew in Beantown. Unfortunately, his first season in Boston featured injuries to Gordon Hayward and himself. The team made it to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to the lights out performances of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Hayward was in attendance, unfortunately, Kyrie wasn’t. This started a rocky patch between player and team. Kyrie saw this young team could operate without him. The team first mentality, operating as a cohesive unit and playing for each other. Irving was in the starting lineup for this season but shot 205 more shots than the next player on the team. This young upstart team was eventually forced to play for Kyrie instead of with. Young players didn’t want to play with him, and Veterans drew tiresome of the young guys. Maybe the Celtics rose too fast, but remember this is a five-year span few teams have gone through.
If the Celtics hadn’t made the playoffs during the first three seasons of the Brad Stevens era, maybe you don’t peak too early. Maybe you don’t get I.T. Which means maybe you don’t get Kyrie, and this wouldn’t be a lost year with all the talent on the Celtics. Out with the old and in with the new, as it’s Kemba’s time to take the parquet.
-John Luck (@jluck_89)