Shortly following the Jrue Holiday trade on Sunday, I tweeted out that this season's hashtag motto should be #NoExcuses. During the 2000-2021 season when the Celtics were underperforming there was tons of talk on whether the Jay's should finally be broken up. They weren't and instead Danny Ainge stepped down and Brad Stevens moved to the front office following that season's first round elimination.
Fast forward two years and the Celtics roster is still led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the entire supporting cast (save for Payton Pritchard) has been replaced. Derrick White and now Jrue Holiday have been brought in to reshape the backcourt. Al Horford returned and Kristaps Porzingis was added this offseason to take over the big positions.
Celtics hashtag for this season should be #NoExcuses
Now as the team's 2023-24 training camp has kicked off, the championship or bust talk is in the air. And it's appropriate.
Starting with the 1956-57 season through the 1985-86 campaign the Boston Celtics won 16 world championships in 29 seasons. In the past 37 seasons they've won 1 lone title. The team has flirted with the Eastern Conference Finals multiple times in recent history and even had a 2-1 NBA Finals lead in 2022, but for an organization that was always championship or bust, playoffs have ended in busts.
Well Jaylen Brown now was shown the "loyalty" he wanted from the Celtics with the richest contract in NBA history while Jayson Tatum is considered a consensus top 6 NBA player. This will be Jaylen's 8th season and Tatum's 7th. They are firmly in the primes of their respective careers. And primes can last for several years or end shortly after age 30, depending on how one's body holds up.
There are no excuses for this season. You can't blame Tatum's and Brown's youth. You can't blame having a 1st year coach. You can't blame Marcus Smart anymore. You can't blame the oft-injured Robert Williams.
Only 3 remaining Celtics since Brad Stevens took over two offseasons ago are Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Payton Pritchard. pic.twitter.com/aY1Z1ii9jM
The team is now led by three All-Stars from this past season on the perimeter and has two more former All-Stars as their bigs. Your 6th guy Derrick White is also by now an accomplished veteran. Once you've changed the head coach and the entire supporting cast, there is nothing left to change but the stars.
So it's on Tatum and Brown this season. It's on the other four vets. It's on Mazzulla and Stevens. Championship or bust. No excuses.