What’s good: Last year, the Celtics were demolished by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs, finishing in the league’s top-eight. This summer, the de facto Celtics, or Team USA, with Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, finished seventh in the world. They’re moving up!
What’s fleeting: The big ol’ love fest this team experienced before last season. Here’s what Ben Golliver, then of Sports Illustrated, wrote about Jayton Tatum before the season, during the pub’s annual top-100 ranking:
“Tatum is too skilled to be buried, even on a budding superteam.”
Those were the days.
A prediction: The Celtics aren't going to extend Jaylen Brown before this season starts, which means he'll be a restricted free agent going into next season, which means some sad team like Atlanta might throw a max-contract offer at him, which means the Celtics will likely let him walk, which means the third overall pick of the 2016 season will be gone for nothing.
What’s depressing: The answer to this is always Gordon Hayward. Always. But what’s also depressing is what we wrote in last year’s ‘What’s depressing’ section:
There was some very minor buzz from the outskirts of NBA reporting that the New York Knicks were front runners for Kyrie Irving when he becomes a free agent next summer. That gained some momentary validity when Jimmy Butler listed the Knicks as a trade destination. Then Irving spoke candidly of his desire to stay in Boston. It turns out this is not depressing for the Celtics, but is depressing for the Knicks.
What’s fortunate: At least the Celtics’ best player over the last three years, who consistently went up a level in the playoffs and played the role of consummate pro even when a moody Flat Earther planted landmines all over the locker room, is still on the team, and didn’t ditch Boston for an Eastern Conference rival, therein making that rival a budding superteam.
What’s horrible: That actually happened, and worse, he dropped the most uninspiring goodbye post on Twitter.
“We fell short of that goal.” You’re damn right we did. #ThanksKyrie
Up next: The Nets, Knicks and Bucks
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