When a franchise is rebuilding, it's impossible to know how long that process will take. Maybe the team makes a blockbuster trade, signs a big-name free agent, or drafts a future superstar. Maybe it doesn't. That was my attitude toward the Celtics heading into this season. I had no idea when they would be competitive again.
But now, things are different.
Even if Boston does nothing of consequence in the offseason, I already have significant expectations for the 2015-16 Celtics.
The C's just dropped each of the final three games of their first-round series with the Cavs by eight points. Every contest was a hard-fought ordeal. In the closing Game 4, LeBron James played 46 minutes, despite the fact that Cleveland led by 21 at halftime--that's how afraid Cavs' coach David Blatt was of this spunky Boston squad.
David Blatt: "The Celtics really challenged us. It was a sweep...but that was not a walk in the park. We battled to win all of these games."
— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) April 26, 2015
Afterwards, Avery Bradley stated what direction he believes the Celtics are headed in:
#Celtics guard Avery Bradley: We learned a lot in this series that will help us when we are back in the playoffs next year.
— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) April 26, 2015
Bradley said this year taught him the future is bright: with any group of guys, he said, if you buy into Stevens' system, you can succeed.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 26, 2015
Once all of the trade dust settled and Brad Stevens finally had a consistent roster to work with, the 2014-15 Celtics finished the year with a 24-12 record. Thirty-six games is a lot more than just a nice run, it's 44 percent of an entire season. The Boston Celtics we watched the past three months were a legitimately good NBA basketball team.
Earlier this month on ESPN's SVP & Russillo show, Stevens said the following:
We had a meeting as whole basketball operations staff ... and we talked about at the start of the year, "Let's stop calling it 'rebuilding,' let's call it 'building.' Let's put that positive connotation out there for our players."
Maybe the C's will make a huge splash this summer, maybe they won't. Either way, there's reason to believe they'll be a quality club next year, and that's exciting to think about.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan
Mark Van Deusen 4/28/2015 03:51:00 PM Tweet Edit