Tis the season to look back and reflect upon the year that was. Here are 10 of the most important moments of the year (in no particular order).
1. Missing out on Durant
There’s no prize for second place, but it was pretty cool being one of the five finalist teams in the running to land one of the top three players in the league this offseason. We were just THAT close to creating our own (latest) superteam.
2. Al Horford signing
Even though we couldn’t pair him with KD, adding Al Horford was probably the best thing that happened this year. No longer do we have to hear talking heads claim that major free agents don’t come to Boston. He’s already proven that he’s a perfect fit with the Celtics, and I have a feeling that he’s just getting started adding value to this team.
3. The NBA Draft
It was always going to be a busy draft night with so many draft picks to use or deal. There was quite a lot of trade chatter (and even some Woj rumblings leading up to the 3rd overall pick), but nothing major materialized and the Boston faithful booed the Jaylen Brown pick. A couple of draft-stashers and late deals later and draft night was indeed busy but surprisingly uneventful.
4. Uneventful trade deadline
Speaking of uneventful, the trade deadline back in February was quiet as well. There were no shortage of rumors and speculation, but no deals materialized to Danny Ainge’s liking. Perhaps it was for the best, since sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.
5. Draft lottery win - 3rd pick
Several pundits called the 2016 draft a two-player draft. So while the Celtics technically won the lottery by getting a top-3 pick, it was largely seen as poor lottery luck once again. Hopefully Jaylen Brown can prove everyone wrong and show that he was worth just as much (if not more) than the top two picks.
6. Sullinger / Turner leave
Evan Turner revitalized his career by reinventing himself as a Swiss Army Knife for the Celtics’ bench. Jared Sullinger provided rebounding but launched an unending barrage of low-percentage three-pointers. Neither was brought back for this season.
7. Cs waive David Lee
Lee was always an odd fit in Boston. In theory he could have provided veteran scoring and rebounding to a young frontcourt. The problem was that he’s never been a defender, and he showed up for camp in poor playing shape. Before too long he was benched and eventually let go.
8. Isaiah Thomas named to Eastern Conference All Star team
A common refrain early last season was that the Celtics were a nice team of overachievers, but they lacked a “star” player. Isaiah Thomas stepped up and earned himself a spot on the All-Star team. Not bad for a former 60th pick in the draft. He also used the time to recruit a certain future free-agent center.
9. Jae Crowder’s ankle injury
If there’s one thing that derailed the Celtics momentum down the stretch last season, it was Jae Crowder’s injury. Even when he returned, he was never quite the same, and Boston suffered from it on both ends of the court.
10. Playoff loss to Atlanta
Speaking of key injuries, losing Avery Bradley in game one of the playoffs last year was perhaps the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. It was already a tough matchup for the Celtics, but losing one of our top players was just too much to overcome.
- Beating the Golden State Warriors
- Terry Rozier owning Summer League
- James Young beating out RJ Hunter for the 15th roster spot
- James Young scores 12 points in a game
So did I miss any moments? What were some of your favorite or least favorite moments?