It is the start of a new era in Boston and the road to Banner 18 starts here. But Brad Stevens doesn't want us to think that way. He wants us to enjoy the process instead of focusing on the goal. That's all well and good but I'd still like to feel like the process is driving us toward that ultimate goal.
Still, he's got a point. We can't be so focused on what the team is not that we forget to enjoy what it is. Yes, Pierce, KG, and Doc are gone. But Bradley, Sullinger, and Green are still here and Rondo is on his way back. The uniforms are still green and white, the floor is still parquet, and the rafters are still filled with banners. Plus, we have a new cast of characters to get to know and watch develop.
The canvass is blank and we get to see what this new painting will look like. Personally I'm going to take the Bob Ross approach. "Let's put a happy little tree here in front of this majestic mountain. Isn't that lovely?"
There will be ups and downs and we'll be turned inside out with rooting for and against wins, but everything will work itself out in time. I'm even toying with the idea of tracking Moral Victories. For example, our official preseason record was 2 - 6 but under my scoring system it would have been 2 - 4 - 2. Two wins, 4 moral victories, and just two legit losses (the Sixers game and the TWolves blowout). Of course it is preseason and these things don't matter, but most of the games ended up being close and they usually passed the Gerald Wallace sniff test (players giving a good amount of effort).
Still, for the most part the progress that we'll be looking for is mostly not quantifiable. Sure we can track things like shooting percentages and maybe you can toss in some advanced metrics to see if Kelly Olynyk is picking up defensive rotations better as the season progresses. But for the most part it is intangibles like Brad Stevens getting a feel for the NBA game and Jared Sullinger getting into playing shape. Can Avery Bradley develop his offense? Which Jeff Green is going to show up this year? Can Courtney Lee revive his trade value?
For every question that gets answered this year, 3 more questions will arise. That's what a process is all about. Constant evolution and adaptation. The end destination is too far away to be concerned about. So we might as well sit back, look out the window, and enjoy the scenery as it passes by.