Congrats to the Bucks! Better luck next year Chris Paul. We’re on to the offseason. These are my latest scattered thoughts. I will not hold my breath waiting for the Pulitzer.
We have less than a week left till the NBA Draft and despite my fellow CelticsBlog writer’s best efforts, I’m completely unprepared. Call it willful ignorance or a LeBron style conserving energy game-plan, but my mind just can’t get motivated to study up on pick-45 prospects.
Of course what I am prepared for is rumor season. We all know how this works by now. The Celtics will be named as potential destinations for stars that are maybe-kinda-sorta-asking-out-soonish. Your Damian Lillards, your Bradley Beals, your Jeff Teagues, etc. (just making sure you’re paying attention)
On some level that makes sense. This is a stars league and if you want a title you need to get stars on the same team and on the same page. At some point the discussion just boils down to your view of Jaylen Brown. I tend to think he’s developing into one of those top level stars that you build around. Others view him as the chip that brings that kind of guy in. Maybe I’m always a sucker for upside and maybe I’m a little gun-shy after the last two scoring point guards didn’t work out. But I’m all for keeping Brown and figuring things out around him and Tatum.
Here’s my very scientific rationale for why I wouldn’t trade Brown for Dame unless I was sure we could win a title right away. pic.twitter.com/L0gwcsKgRc— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) July 13, 2021
I believe Tatum can grow into “best player on a championship” and MVP level guy. I think Brown can be an ideal 2nd star. The rest is about getting a supporting cast around them. There are ways to find a 3rd star willing to take that supporting role (but it isn’t always cheap - see Holiday) or to build a superior team of role players that add up to more than that 3rd star.
Not sure if I fully buy into the narrative around the support players. This time of year we all fall in love with guys like Jae Crowder, Cameron Payne, Pat Connaughton, or PJ Tucker during the Finals. But we also watched Bobby Portis morph into James Posey on the biggest stage. Sometimes great role players make a championship happen and sometimes championships glorify role players. Can guys like Pritchard, Nesmith, and Robert Williams turn into Championship role players? I have no idea, but I have a feeling it depends a lot on what Tatum and Brown do the next few years.
One “lesson” that I would point to from this year’s Finals is something I’ve mentioned a number of times in the past. When you are close, go for it. All it takes is a few lucky breaks for you and a few bad breaks for the competition and you have a chance at a title. That isn’t to take away from anything from the Bucks accomplished. They deserve the title and the accolades that come with it. But they were also fortunate that a lot of teams were without their best players (not to mention the inch that Durant’s shoe was over the line). Luck is part of any title team’s narrative, but you can’t capitalize on that luck if you don’t get in position to win in the first place.
We’ve already seen some changes take place on the Celtics roster. The draft is the next step and shortly after that we’ll open the free agent floodgates and we’ll see just how much the Celtics want to bring back Evan Fournier. We’ll also see if guys like Marcus Smart or Rob Williams get extensions or if the team holds onto their cap flexibility. I’m torn between liking a lot of our young players and wanting to get more veteran rotation guys.
As always, it should be a very interesting offseason. The Celtics are never boring, which works out well for a blog like this.