This time last year Boston Celtics fans were excited to go and win banner 18. This is due to the young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who brought the Celtics to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward healthy for the start of the season and LeBron leaving for the west coast what could go wrong…
Fast forward a year and the Celtics faithful have been put through one of the worst seasons of memory. A team that fought against each other all year and for the first time under head coach Brad Stevens under-performed. Now this year instead of competing for a title they will most likely be looking to rebuild around the young guys.
So what went wrong…?
First off the team was bad and filled with drama this year. The Celtics ended up as the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs while having the most talent in the conference. Terry Rozier thought he was better than Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown could not believe he got benched for Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum did not have fun playing second to a shoot-first point guard.
The second issue for the Celtics was Kyrie Irving changing his mind on staying in Boston. Irving went from “If you will have me I would like to resign here” at the beginning of the year to being moved out of his house in Massachusetts by June 17th. With Irving the idea of risking for Anthony Davis becomes do-able. It almost mirrors the 2008 Celtics with bringing in Kevin Garnett when he did not want to stay in Boston. Instead they see Anthony Davis, a sought after player of the Celtics for many years with the Los Angeles Lakers and Kyrie Irving on his way out on June 30th when free agency begins.
Finally the icing on the cake for the Celtics season being a disaster was the Sacramento Kings playing well for the first time in 13 years. The Kings won 39 games this year. The highest total for them since the 2005-2006 season. Going into the season the Celtics were excited for another high lottery selection owning the Kings pick. However De’Aaron Fox became a stud and the Sacramento Kings competed in the Western Conference ending in 9th place. Now instead of a high lottery pick and two late picks, the Celtics have picks 14, 20, and 22. Three picks in the first round would be good for any team looking to rebuild, but the Celtics want a key contributor and those are hard to come by late in the first round.
So is there good news?
Yes, there is hope Celtics fans. The hope is Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown become all-star caliber players, Brad Stevens controls the locker room again and Gordon Hayward becomes the Gordon Hayward in Utah. If it all goes right this team will be fine. This team will turn back into the Celtics the fans love who will move the ball and play hard every night. The question is will something go right for the Celtics again? The first step starts with the NBA draft on June 20th and then it is onto free agency. Today was a good start for the Celtics as big man Al Horford has opted-out of his 30.1 million dollar option and will become an unrestricted free agent with motivation to resign a long-term deal with the Celtics. Horford has been a key member of the Celtics on and off the floor and can be a great piece for the success of the club now and for the years to come. Other key free agents are forward Marcus Morris who is an unrestricted free agent and guard Terry Rozier who is a restricted free agent.
Celtics fans the truth is we hope that the problems will go away with Kyrie Irving and hope that the disaster of last year is over and not a sign of what to come in the future.