Every year about this time I have my kids start a list on a whiteboard of all the things they are thankful for. (Examples include Grandma, birthdays, puppies, and Garfield - yup, they are adorable) I think it is a good and valuable lesson to remember the blessings you have instead of always being focused on the things you don’t have or are striving for.
There are plenty of things to be concerned about with this team, but for the moment I’m going to focus on the positives. Here are 10 things that I’m thankful for. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.
1 - Ownership that “gets it” and gets out of the way.
It is kinda hard to judge an ownership group because a lot of what they do is behind the scenes and much of it involves spreadsheets, board meetings, and something called “vision casting” that I’m not sure is really a thing.
We can, however, appreciate this group for what they haven’t done. There are owners around the league that have inserted themselves in unproductive and at times damaging ways. Some do it by dictating moves for financial reasons. Some stress short term goals with mandates that ignore long term consequences. Some just want to play with the toy that they bought and end up messing things up.
This group seems to be involved when they should be, adept at hiring the right people, and patient enough to let the process work over time. I say we keep them.
2 - Danny Ainge is still winning
The on-court product isn’t producing the way it should yet, but I tend to think that they’ll sort things out. Either way, I generally trust that Danny Ainge can make a move or two to push things in the right direction. I have that trust based on the series of positive moves he’s made in the last several years.
Not only does he have a roster that (on paper a least) looks like a title contender, but he has up to 4 first rounders in the upcoming draft. He can use those to fill out the roster with rookie scale contracts (the payroll will get expensive quickly) or as trade chips (I don’t even need to name the guy I know you are thinking of right now).
3 - Brad Stevens has the right mindset and approach
Brad Stevens thinks the Celtics played better last night than they did in the Raptors win on Friday night.— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) November 20, 2018
Never too high, never too low. We have the privilege of overreacting, he does not. He isn’t perfect, he hasn’t made all the right moves. But he’s tinkering and experimenting early in the season in order to come up with the right mix later in the season and into the playoffs.
Bottom line, I wouldn’t want any other coach.
4 - Kyrie Irving has amazing balance
5 - Jayson Tatum is still getting better
He’s had some growing pains and struggled to find his fit in this lineup like the rest of the team, but he’s been more aggressive and assertive than he was as a rookie and that’s a natural next step for a future franchise guy.
Like Stevens, I get the feeling that he’s experimenting with different things early in the season and will expand on things he likes and limit the things that aren’t as effective. Not worried at all about him.
6 - Al Horford is still worth every penny
We’ve been over this a lot so I’m not going to belabor the point. Al isn’t perfect, but he’s about as close to a coach’s dream as you can get. He’s the anchor of the defense, the lever that unlocks the offense, and the steady veteran leader on the court that this team needs.
7 - Mook is awesome
Mea culpa, I didn’t see this coming but I’m happy to see it happening. Marcus Morris has been perhaps the most consistent and effective player on the Celtics this season. He’s making the right decisions with the ball, playing with intensity and drive, and generally being the best version of himself out there. Just an ideal fit for what they need off the bench.
8 - Gordon Hayward is slowly but surely getting there
He’s far from being in All Star form, but most assumed it would take some time to get there and he’s taking some time to get there. We’ve seen him have some good games, there have been occasional glimpses of the player he was, and he’s no longer on a minutes restriction. He’ll get there eventually.
9 - At least we’re not (fill in the blank)
Without naming names, there are some teams and situations around the league that are ...less than ideal at the moment. The Celtics have some stuff to work out for sure, but I’m confident that they will work them out in a (mostly) mature fashion in large part due to all the reasons listed above.
10 - CelticsBlog and Boston fans
I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it thousands more. This is the best community and you all make my life better by being here for me to share this experience with. Thank you for being passionate, intelligent, and creative.