Most seasons have a certain feel and theme that define them. Some years there are no expectations and the team overachieves (like 2014-15). Some years the expectations are sky high and the wheels completely fall off (2018-19). Generally speaking the team has an identity of sorts. Some seasons are defensive juggernauts and some rely more on offense. One year Isaiah Thomas was the King in the Fourth. Another year the stars got hurt and a young Tatum and Brown duo (with Al Horford) led us to the Eastern Conference Finals anyway.
I spend a lot of time thinking about this. I’m big on narratives and understanding the pulse of the team. Expectations were tempered by losing Hayward in the offseason but there was always hope that the team could make up for it with internal improvements. I gave myself the customary 25% of the season to reserve judgement but I thought surely by the time the trade deadline rolled around we’d understand the team’s identity. Not really (at least not in any positive sense). Post deadline has been largely good, but not without mind numbing frustrations. The game on Friday night pretty much encapsulates the whole season. This team has so much potential but why can’t they put it together consistently?
So where does that leave us? Basically, I haven’t the foggiest notion of how to define this season at the moment. Ultimately you are what your record is, but it goes a step further than that. The regular season is only the long lead-up to what really matters. I think when all is said and done, this season will be remembered by what happens in the postseason. Sure, we’ll remember the inconsistent regular season with even more peaks and valleys than usual. But if we make another run to the Conference Finals all will be forgiven. On the flipside, if we flame out in the first round there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There are 8 games left in the season and I can’t think of anything that would happen during that time would surprise me in the least. They could fall down into the play-in game and lose out. They could run the table and grab the 4th seed. They could lose to the Magic and beat the Heat twice in a row. Jaylen Brown could answer Tatum with a 61 point game. The whole team could come down with a whooping cough. Frankly I’m ready for anything but still kind of terrified.
So forget it, I’m done trying to define this team. I’m just along for the ride at this point. Let’s see how it all turns out.