Expectations can be a funny thing. They can change over time based on circumstances and unexpected developments. At the start of the year, we had one expectation for the regular season. That didn’t go so great. Now we have more information and more context. So the bottom line question is, what are your expectations for the playoffs?
Everyone is different and I’m sure the answers will range all over the map on this one. In one extreme, there are people that (not without reason) will simply assume that this team hasn’t proven that they will be able to get out of the first round against any opponent.
On the other extreme are people who still believe that this team is championship or bust. I would personally clarify that banners are always the “goal” but not always the expectation in a given season. Not everyone will agree.
I think I fall somewhere in the grey middle between those extremes. I believe this team is better than their record would indicate. I also think they have a very narrow margin of error. We’ve seen far too often how ill-equipped this team is to deal with injuries. If a starter or two are out and we have to rely on guys like Grant Williams or Semi Ojeleye in the starting lineup, that isn’t a great formula. Not only is the starting lineup limited, the very thin bench gets even thinner.
Still, if you trot out the evergreen caveat of “if at full health” (never a given with this team), then the Celtics could conceivably match up with anyone. Kemba has nights when he looks like the old Kemba (instead of just old) and he’ll be playing every night in the playoffs. Adding Evan Fournier to the bench gives us the scoring punch that we need on that 2nd unit.
For me, I would be disappointed if we didn’t get out of the first round and make a “good showing” in the 2nd round. Who knows? We might even catch a few breaks and get back to the Eastern Conference Finals again. Still, I keep coming back to that margin of error thing and I feel like I have to hedge my bets, so to speak.
What about you? How far do you expect the Celtics to get this year?