The Boston Celtics at the moment have a report of 35-26 and are the #6 seed in a tightly bunched Japanese Convention standings, simply 1.5 video games out of third place.
If we shut our eyes and picture how we’d really feel about that sentence within the preseason, we’d in all probability suppose “yeah, that sounds about proper.” I used to be extra optimistic about our possibilities of being within the prime 2-3 groups of the East, however I used to be sensible sufficient to grasp that they may land as little as sixth.
Now shut your eyes and picture listening to that sentence round New Yr’s. Insert no matter “huh?” meme you need, however you wouldn’t imagine a phrase of it. On the time the workforce was bouncing round .500 with a two-steps-forward-two-steps-back rhythm. The temporary glimpses of greatness had been overshadowed by frequent collapses and inconsistent effort.
Proper round that point, I wrote an article, imploring the team to “pick a lane.”
If this workforce isn’t adequate to compete for a title they usually aren’t dangerous sufficient to have a shot at drafting a distinction maker, that places them proper in that dreaded center floor. Do this for consecutive years and you’re on the treadmill of mediocrity.
The thought course of was that two stars plus an ideal supporting solid could be very exhausting to drag off. There’s simply no margin for error and the outcomes simply weren’t there. Quick ahead to in the present day and it looks like extra items are in place than we’d have imagined. Possibly Robert Williams or Marcus Sensible (or some mixture of the 2) are the third star and we simply don’t settle for that but.
Facet be aware: It’s too early for a victory lap, however let’s simply say that I’m glad I caught with this take.
I’m nonetheless hanging on to my perception/hope that Tatum and Brown are a wonderful place to begin for any roster. Two wings with that degree of ability and work ethic are uncommon and valuable. They’ve the flexibility to be switchable on protection and complement one another on offense if used correctly and surrounded by the precise supporting solid.
The loopy factor is that the early season struggles actually appear to have lowered expectations for this group. Despite the fact that the workforce has been taking part in the very best basketball within the league (by most measurements) because the calendar flip, there’s nonetheless a little bit of “nicely, let’s wait and see how actual that is” on the minds of followers and analysts alike. And for good purpose. That is nonetheless a reasonably small pattern dimension and we’ve got to see how sustainable it’s.
So now we’re form of caught someplace between high and low expectations. If this workforce makes one other long term within the playoffs, it is going to really feel a little bit like “discovered cash.” In the event that they don’t, it is going to be disappointing, however not as a lot as it might have been stumbling into the play-in event. In a method, this type of jogs my memory of the early Brad Stevens-led groups. That they had a behavior of beginning a little bit sluggish, bettering because the 12 months went alongside, and overachieving within the playoffs.
The protection actually appears actual. That’s the form of factor that might and will translate into success within the playoffs. Is the ball motion actual? Can this workforce keep wholesome sufficient in Ime’s brief rotation to maximise this combine? All that continues to be to be seen, however a minimum of we’ve moved on previous the “ought to we blow it up?” section.