This 2017-2018 Boston Celtics team was one of the most entertaining Celtics teams I’ve ever watched. With Kyrie and Hayward joining the squad, there was huge expectations coming into this season. However, 5 minutes into the first game Hayward went down for the season and it seemed like our hopes went down with him. People figured this team would still make it to the playoffs in the horrid east, but man, nobody expected the season to be such a success. Brad Stevens and his goons taught us a whole lot this past season.
Jaylen Brown took a HUGE Step Forward
When Jaylen Brown was drafted, most people were pissed and wanted Kris Dunn instead. I’ve always been a Jaylen guy and I’m glad I stuck with him because he turned out to be an absolute stud. He went from scoring 6.6 ppg his rookie season to 14.5 this season. On top of that, JB became an elite 3-point shooter at 40% shooting. The dude’s athletic as all hell and will be a menace in this league for years to come.
Trading the Top Pick was the Right Move
Last June the Celtics traded the number 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft to the 76ers for the 3rd pick in the same draft and a future super high draft pick. The 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz with the first pick and Boston got Jayson Tatum at 3. On top of Tatum, the Celtics now have the Kings 2019 first round pick. And Sacramento sucks! While Fultz got too nervous to play, Tatum absolutely balled out and proved to be a top rookie from this class and a future superstar. Tatum averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds as a rookie.
Marcus Smart is Vital to Success
Marcus Smart got hurt a couple times this season for extended periods of time. In his time being inactive, the Celtics were noticeably not as good of a team. Smart brings energy and elite defense each and every night. His play is most important in the playoffs where he makes game deciding plays. Smart is a restricted free agent this summer and the Celtics need to do everything in their power to keep him in Boston.
Terry Rozier is Starting Caliber
This is probably the biggest surprise to me. In Terry’s first two seasons he never showed much potential to be star. And with Kyrie joining the squad last summer, I imagined if anything that Terry would take a step backwards. Even when Kyrie was healthy, Terry provided a great scoring role off of the bench. When Kyrie got hurt though, Terry absolutely exploded. In his first career start, Terry garnered a triple double. Rozier didn’t get scared in the playoffs either. He scored at a great rate and rarely ever turned the ball over. What his playoff performance did was raise his stock through the roof. Now Danny Ainge will be able to package him in a trade to get almost anything he wants.
Brad Stevens is the Best Coach in the NBA
Greg Popovich exists still yes, and I’m probably biased, but it’s at least close. I know it’s a statement that’s been beaten over the head, but Stevens took this team without their 2 best players deep into the playoffs. When people say that, they give off the perception that the rest of the roster doesn’t have talent. This team has incredible talent beyond Kyrie and Gordon, but their young. You need a great coach to take a young team through the playoffs. Brad did that and with this team was 1 win away from the NBA Finals.
Everyone Plays Tough for Boston
Guys you wouldn’t expect to play hard go all out just because of the uniform they have one. Before this year, nobody heard of Semi Ojeleye or Daniel Theis. Those guys went all out for this team from the jump and got themselves recognition. Playing with a guy like Marcus Smart will do that. Semi Ojeleye even became the X Factor to stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo in round 1 of the playoffs. Aron Baynes gets dunked on and doesn’t give a shit because he plays tough as all hell. He’s not moving out of the way for anyone. Marcus Morris gave it his all defending Lebron and did better than most could have. And we all know about the toughness of Horford and Smart, so they don’t even need anything said about them. This team just never gives up defensively.
The 2018-2019 Boston Celtics will be Unstoppable
Danny Ainge recently said he wants to make as little changes to this roster as possible for next year. That bodes well for Celtics fans. This team was so lovable and deserves a ring together. Combine everything above and put towards another year of development, and this team is scary. The starting lineup will be: Kyrie, Jaylen, Gordon, Jayson, and Al. Think of the potential bench too being Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis, and Semi Ojeleye. Boy am I glad I’m a Celtics fan. With Brad Stevens at the helm, this team is in the midst of becoming the next great dynasty.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)