In a way, I'm more excited about this season than I was for any of the years with the Big Three. With Pierce, Garnett, Allen, and later Rondo--while there was this excitement/urgency/joy/frustration/immediacy of trying to win a championship--there was always this sense that there was an expiration date to that team, that the hourglass would empty eventually.
With this team, hope truly springs eternal. There may not be as clear a route to Banner 18, but you get a sense that Ainge and Stevens are building a foundation here that could last a long time. Maybe not all these players are here when another championship gets raised to the rafters, but you can bet that how they play this season will echo for years to come.
After two seasons that have seen the dismantling of one of Boston's iconic teams in a record number of transactions, this is the first year that Brad Stevens will have a full roster of players that he can mold into what he envisions to be Celtics basketball. And yes, this roster is full. Young, talented, tough, and deep. There could be more tinkering as the season progresses (it's Danny Ainge we're talking about here), but what will be consistent is how this team will play. We saw glimpses of it towards the end of last season when it all started to come together. This is a team that balls hard, scraps on D, and plays smart on the offensive end.
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This video went viral this week highlighting one of the greatest teams in NBA history, the 1986 Celtics:
That team had Bird and McHale and Parish and DJ and Ainge and Walton, but more so, it epitomized team ball and we loved them for that. Maybe I'm a sentimentalist and it's early September and it's basketball spring time, but I get that feeling with Team #70.
There will be some conjecture over the next couple of days about the upside of the young guys, about who can and will become a star, and about what moves the team should make to get better, but how about we all just step back and take a breath. It's September 25th, basketball is back, and we've got a team here that's going to be really fun to watch.
I'm paraphrasing here, but I love what Danny said a couple of days ago when he talked about identifying guys on this deep roster for playing time and putting together a rotation: it's not going to necessarily be the best players, but the players that play the best together. That bears repeating: it's about the players that play the best together.
There won't be any basketball played today. Brad Stevens won't be drawing up any OTA's to win a game. Ainge won't be making any phone calls to inquiring GM's (I think). Today's just a good day to get to know the fifteen guys that will be your Boston Celtics for the next nine months. Let's have some fun.
Happy Media Day, everybody.