A Brand New Boston Celtics Have the Potential to Dominate in the Upcoming Season
It's been one hell of an off season for the Boston Celtics, and after all the drama, it's almost time to see how our reconstruction plays out on the court. It feels like a lifetime ago since we were awaiting Gordon Hayward's decision to join us, and after all the drama of the Cleveland trade, we can finally get to the hardwood and start working out how all the pieces are going to fit together. It's a very exciting time to be a Celtics fan, that's for sure, and even though we've parted with guys like IT and Avery, there's a load of new players ready to give us a much more promising push to dethrone the Warriors. It was clear watching Boston in the playoffs that we weren't on the same level as Cleveland and Golden State. I don't want to sound negative, but push comes to shove, if we had somehow managed to beat the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals, there was no way in hell we'd compete against guys like KD, Draymond, and Steph. Even if Isaiah Thomas wasn't out with a bum hip, we didn't have the calibre to compete against the champs, but looking down the roster now, there's a great chance we could, more so than last season anyway. Way back in June saw the birth of the new Celtics, when Jayson Tatum joined from the third pick in the NBA Draft. He's a rookie with plenty of promise, having an average of 16.8 points at Duke, and an impressive TRB of 7.1. He's a promising offensive player, with an urgency in defence the Celtics need in Avery's absence. 10-time All Star and Boston legend Paul Pierce also believes he's going to be one of the league's best. In an interview with CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely, Pierce said “when I’m watching him, he looks like a mature version of my game, like sixth, seventh, eighth year. He sees the defense. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. He understands his position, footwork, his step-back (jumper) is there. His offensive repertoire seems complete. The sky is the limit for that kid." Wow. Getting Gordon Hayward is a huge deal. He has the potential to be great in Boston, as a great team player and an all round contributor. He gained an average 21.9 points for Utah last season, and is still getting better with every season. He also has a huge rapport with Brad Stevens as they were together at Butler, way back when before they both have the careers they have now. There may be an overabundance of small forwards at Boston now, but there's plenty of room for that all to work, and if anyone is going to make it happen, Brad Stevens is the man to do it. Coming in from Detroit, providing that nothing comes out of the assault trial, is Marcus Morris. OK, so we had to say goodbye to our defensive maestro, but by waving goodbye to Avery Bradley, not only did we get a strong forward in Morris, and a second round draft pick in 2019, we freed up room for other Celtics players to get more time playing, such as the trimmed down Marcus Smart, who I have a good feeling about this season. Smart is constantly improving, and losing that weight and focusing on his fitness will hopefully increase his assists (4.6 per game) and points (10.9 per game) averages from last year. When it was announced that a monumental trade was on the table that'd see Kyrie Irving move to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first-round draft pick (and after all the injury drama, a 2020 second-round draft pick), I felt a whole manner of emotions. I could cope with losing Jae, the draft picks, and Ante, but IT? Nah, this one was going to be tough. Isaiah Thomas had been nothing but exceptional for Boston, and that famed performance after his sister's passing when he got 33 points was just one of the many things that proved the integrity and class of IT. He transcended the game of basketball. Isaiah Thomas is a gentleman, a Boston hero, and a phenomenal player. I'll miss him greatly, and I wish him all the best in Cleveland, but unfortunately, regardless of what was going on in Danny Ainge's mind at the time of the trade and whether it was disloyal or disrespectful in people's opinion, IT is no longer a part of our team. Kyrie Irving is, and I for one cannot wait to see him play in green. Kyrie is a playmaker, he is near impossible to guard, and he can make impossible shots from all over the place. There's been a lot of debate as to whether he's a franchise player, but I think it's a bit of an outdated role anyway, at least when it comes to Boston. There is a definite trilogy of players going into the 2017-18 season that'll define us, the new Boston Three Party if you will. Irving, Horford, and Hayward will take us to the Eastern Conference finals for sure, and regardless of whether Lebron James is playing or not, we have a team that'll dominate, and that is exactly why the first game of the season is going to mean so much. It will show the world how Boston Celtics have what it takes to win the league, and potentially upset the Warriors. It will show how much of a team we have both defensively and offensively, and how this brand new line up has what it takes to be dominant in the East this year. Tatum, Morris, Hayward, Irving, Horford, Brown, Smart - these are the people playing in a team with an incredibly exciting future, and the potential to play in one hell of a season. Under the tutelage of Head Coach Brad Stevens, there is no doubt that the Boston Celtics are going in guns blazing. Cavs, Warriors, whoever - we're ready, and so should you be.