The Boston Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 9-1. They have won 9 straight games including wins over the Bucks, Raptors, and Spurs. What’s not to like about that? While it is human nature to look back and look forward, there’s something to be said for living in and enjoying the moment as it happens.
Last year was just so jarring and frustrating that it kind of left a scar on our hearts. So it makes sense that any success the team has this year is going to be held up next to that and compared favorably. However, as that great theologian Kyrie Irving once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” (yes, I know he was quoting Roosevelt) John Karalis of MassLive wrote eloquently of this phenomenon.
Philosophically, it makes sense. As Mark Twain said, “What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other.”
In that vein, there is no escaping the past for this team. The emotional baggage heaped upon fans by the Irving era is just part of the psyche now. It’s going to take time for that to fade away.
However, no new significant other likes to hear about how different this relationship is than the last. At some point, we have to appreciate them for who they are, not who they’re not.
And the same applies for this Boston Celtics team.
On the flipside, there’s a strong temptation to look ahead and asses the Celtics chances of actually competing with the best teams in the league for the Championship. I mean, that’s what we are here for, right? Several talking heads and authors have addressed this already (and will continue to do so) but here are words from Steve Bulpett.
It doesn’t diminish the Celts’ current accomplishments to say they’re going to have to be significantly better than this to play into late May and — should we even mention it? — June.
It may even require a trade to get larger inside. While Daniel Theis has taken a giant step forward from an uneven sophomore season and Rob Williams has shown even brighter flashes in his second year, it remains to be seen how Enes Kanter fits in. The inside game becomes more of an issue in the postseason, and it will be interesting to see what the people here now look like then or if there is someone else in the mix.
But the group as a whole has been better individually than some imagined, and it’s come together in a cohesive manner quicker than anyone could have reasonably assumed.
My point is the same point that both the writers above are getting at. You can spend a lot of time looking backwards and even more time looking ahead. In fact, this blog is going to do that on pretty much a daily basis. That’s all well and good but it also helps to focus on the fact that the Celtics are playing well and good as well.
Heading into the season, most agreed that for the Celtics to be contenders, a number of variables would have to break in the right direction for them. They are counting on Tatum, Brown, and Hayward to all take a big step forward (so far so good). They are counting on a hydra rotation of bigs to sop up minutes and keep things respectable in the paint (again, going well so far). They are leaning heavily upon rookies to make contributions (good again).
I don’t know if Stevens is fooling us all with smoke and mirrors. It is possible that the Hayward injury is going to eventually catch up to this team and cause them to struggle through a few games. It is reasonable to expect some bumps and bruises and cold streaks ahead. I don’t anticipate the Celtics winning 90% of their games for the whole year.
But man oh man is this team fun, right here and right now. Kemba Walker is a joy. Tatum and Brown are spreading their wings. Robert Williams is a cheat code. Carsen Edwards gets buckets. Marcus Smart is our king. This group is just a lot of fun and I’m going to enjoy it.