The Boston Celtics organization have always been a franchise to bring the best out of their players. From the first, to the last guy on their bench. This past year they showed toughness and grit, along with coach Brad Stevens’ smart play calling. They continued this play into the first round of the playoffs, where they were swept by the 2nd seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.
Never mind all this talk of sweeping, and brooms, and let’s talk about how this young Celtics team took a ginormous step forward. Marcus Smart, the 6th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, showed remarkable upside by averaging 7.8 points, 3.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game, along with some stellar defense by averaging 1.5 steals per game. They also may look to trade up in this years 2015 draft.
It feels as though Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, former Celtics, have created some sort of philosophy where if you don’t bleed green, then you do not deserve to wear a Celtics’ jersey. Players like Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger fit the bill, since they have been in Boston their entire careers. One guy I can not say enough about is Jae Crowder, who Boston acquired in the deal that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas. He showed the type of stuff that the Boston crowd adores. He played with offensive and defensive energy/effort. Effort that goes a long way in the city that he plays for. All these players perform night after night with a certain chip on their shoulders, and their only goal while on the court is to win.
Even guys like Phil Pressey who doesn’t get as many minutes as the other rotation players shows a glimpse of killer instinct while on the court. This Celtics team is missing one true superstar to put them over the hump. Isaiah Thomas, who they acquired from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline, was their closest thing to a superstar with his ability to attack the basket and shoot from long-range.
It would be easy to write off a 40-42 team who got swept in the first round of the playoffs, but this Celtics team is no joke. The other 29 teams in the NBA need to take notice that Boston is on the rise once again.