This is doubly so for Celtics fans who love their team and support it like no other. So it makes sense that when Boston loses three of its last four games, two of those losses coming at the hands of the terrible Nets and even worse Lakers, fans are going to be frustrated and angry.
But everyone just needs to calm down, take a deep breath and continue looking ahead.
Does this team have warts? It sure does: inconsistent play from night to night, lack of a go-to scorer to help lighten the load for Isaiah Thomas, no true rim protection outside of Amir Johnson, losing games that they should have won because of poor fourth quarter play (like Wednesday's loss to Detroit), not being able to win games at home, not being able to pull out close wins, etc.
The thing is, this team as currently constructed is supposed to have warts. It's not a finished product. Far from it.
The name of the game in Boston right now is development and they are getting that in spades. Jae Crowder has gone from fan favorite role player to the best two-way player on the roster. Avery Bradley has become a reliable scorer while reverting his defensive intensity back to pit bull levels. Kelly Olynyk has looked much better on the court on both ends in his third season. Marcus Smart is a human highlight reel. James Young has shown marked improvement on defense in limited minutes which was his biggest weakness. Thomas has become a better passer and upped his game on defense. Hell, even Evan Turner has shown flashes of looking like the best Celtic on the court some nights this season.
It would be nice if rookies R.J. Hunter, Terry Rozier and Jordan Mickey (a player I'm very excited to see play real NBA minutes) could get some serious time on the court but there are simply far too many good-not-great players on the team right now. Their time will come.
Even with the focus being on development and the recent losses, the Celtics have a 19-16 record as I write this and are two games out of first in the Atlantic Division and six games out of first in the Eastern Conference. The East is incredibly competitive this year and Boston is right in the thick of it. Remember, there's almost as big of a gap in wins and losses between No. 2 San Antonio and No. 3 Oklahoma City in the West than there is between No. 1 Cleveland and No. 8 Boston in the East.
The frustration from fans appears to come from the fact that expectations coming into the season were too high. Sure, Boston made the playoffs last season as the No. 7 seed. It's reasonable to assume they would only build on that and get better, which they have. But that does not put them into the discussion of contenders. Even if they somehow end up as the No. 2 seed, no one should be talking NBA Finals. They just don't have the pieces yet.
The good news is those missing pieces appear to be right around the corner. With all the draft picks and quality young players president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has amassed, Boston can pretty much go toe-to-toe with anyone when it comes to a trade package for a star. Even without a big trade, the Celtics look like they'll be snagging one of the few studs in the upcoming draft thanks to the Nets' first-round pick. They will also have plenty of cap space this summer to go after any free agent (or two) that they want.
Bottom line: Losing sucks but this team is far from in trouble. Now is not the time to focus on the end result.
Eric Blaisdell 1/07/2016 04:10:00 PM Tweet Edit