2022 was a pretty good year for the Boston Celtics all things considered. They fell short of an NBA Championship but just about everything else went very well. We all know that the goal for 2023 is to win Banner 18. But aside from that, what else do you want to see from the next year? Our staff weighs in with our thoughts.
Jayson Tatum MVP, Jaylen Brown All-Star, and a healthy Robert Williams with no minutes restrictions or concerns over his knee. I know you asked for one thing, but all three of these rank at the top of my list. And If I may sneak another one in here - Grant Williams re-signs with the Celtics on a four-year deal.
The continued ascension and development of the Jays. They’ve improved dramatically every year, yet they’re still so young. I’d love to see them make equally large leaps over the next 2 seasons as they transition into their “prime” years. In other words, I want this not to be the peak for either of them.
Jaylen Brown, All-NBA. He has the ability, just comes down to consistency. And consistency in the way that you nitpick guys who are 1 of the 20 best players in the league. Tatum is a superstar, Brown isn’t far behind and locking down a 2nd or 3rd team All-NBA spot (not to mention securing a MASSIVE bag) would be a complete validation of his growth since the C’s drafted him 3rd overall as a guy with “good upside”.
My answer is the same as William Weir. Brown was drafted when the team was a fringe contender. He’s seen a lot of teammates come and go, and he’s always been the second option alongside Tatum. But, he’s still a spectacular player. He’s so talented and has a really high-level skillset. Plus, his work ethic and off court contributions to the community are awesome. It would be great to show him that his work and talent don’t go unnoticed, as it typically does with him.
I know I’m supposed to exclude Banner 18 from this answer, but there are few things I want to see more than Marcus Smart with a championship ring on his finger. He’s the emotional leader of this era of Celtics basketball, and one of my favorite Celtics of all time. I want to see him in particular at the summit of the mountain.
I want Pritchard to find a role on the team. Other teams play deeper benches than the Celtics, and I can’t understand Pritchard not being useful for energy minutes in almost every game. He’s an underrated ball-hawking defender and he can shoot with the best of them. Give him a shot.
I agree with Robbie on Payton Pritchard. I also want to see the Celtics make zero moves at the trade deadline. This is a nearly perfect team; don’t tinker with near-perfection in search of perfection. Outside of that, I want to see Malcolm Brogdon give the Celtics exactly what they need in the playoffs. I’ve said it before on Celtics Blog, and will likely say it again, but I really think it was one of the best pickups imaginable for the Celtics. It’s just a truly perfect fit, and I expect him to thrive when the lights are brightest and complement Tatum and Brown perfectly.
My wish is for Jayson Tatum to win MVP and Jaylen Brown to make all-NBA, because if they do it means the Celtics will have continued their current success all the way through game 82. Boston has not had the MVP since Larry Bird won his third consecutive award in 1986. A title followed. Kevin Garnett should have easily won the honor in 2008, but finished only third in an extremely disappointing vote. Despite that, Garnett was first-team all-NBA and Paul Pierce was third-team, and another banner was raised. We’ve been waiting 15 years for Banner 18, and with the Jays leading the way at their current levels, there’s a real opportunity to get it. It would be very satisfying if, along the way, they receive the respect and recognition they deserve.
A Marcus Smart All-Star appearance. It seems very unlikely, but he’s been so crucial to the team’s success. Seeing him make the All-Star Game would be a great feel-good moment this year. He’s played so, so well as the point guard.
I’ll break the rule and pick the obvious. Get Al Horford, Marcus Smart and the Jays their rings. It’s all that matters. We’ve seen them go through so much, leave in Horford’s case and come back together to take these final steps toward a championship that seemed unattainable not too long ago. These are already all-time great Celtics who’ll be truly remembered like some of the legends, and maybe even have their numbers retired one day, if they can win a title. Otherwise, I’ll add to the hope for a healthy Robert Williams. He’s the most exciting Celtic I can remember at this point and it’s been brutal to watch him constantly set back in his push toward his own stardom. Let him get back to form. (edited)
If you’re taking Banner 18 off the table, I’ll stick with my preseason pick of Jayson Tatum winning MVP. I’ll add Jaylen Brown making All-NBA and landing the big contract extension this summer. And, for good measure, I’ll add re-signing Grant Williams to a fair value deal to keep the gang together and defend what will be a hard-won title. (See what I did there?)
Lots of great suggestions above and I agree with all of them. However, the biggest thing I’d like to see is a fully healthy, back-to-normal Robert Williams III living his best life and excelling for the Boston Celtics. That would just give me so much joy and I really hope to see it come true.
Your turn. What do you want from 2023?