It seemed like NBA fans around the globe never quite gave the 2022 Boston Celtics their flowers for going through a gauntlet in the Eastern Conference this past season, steam-rolling Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in a first-round sweep, Jayson Tatum terrifying the NBA with a 46 point outburst in Milwaukee which had most believing the Tatum era has begun, and withstanding a Jimmy Butler out for revenge after being swept in the first round the previous season. They almost had what would’ve been a massive playoff collapse had Jimmy Butler not missed that top of the arc 3 in Game 7 which would’ve blown the top off the FTX Arena in Miami and buried the Boston Celtics. It was dissapointing to see the Boston Celtics go through what was one of the more impressive runs in recent playoff history and suffer defeat at the hands of Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors but then again who really expected first year coach Ima Udoka to figure out a way of outcoaching Steve Kerr in a stage Kerr was already in over 5 times? Not anyone with sufficient logic.
The 2014 San Antonio Spurs went under the radar the 2013-2014 season. After their collapse in Game 6 of the NBA Finals where LeBron James put the Heat on his back in a game in which the Spurs were up by as much as 15 points going into the fourth-quarter and LeBron closing out the series in Miami with 37 points I honestly believed that was it for the Tim Duncan era. Watching them in the Finals 2013 was really a testament to just how organized and well structured the Spurs were able to be for over a decade, they fused in young talent around their core 3 of Parker,Ginobili, and Duncan and were in the mix for the title for over 10 seasons in the NBA which was just remarkable. Mind you I remember the days when Tim Duncan was one of the top 3 players in the league yet he was never spoken of over the likes of Kobe,Iverson,Shaq,Garnett,and McGrady because his game was never really marketable and to hear Timmy’s voice was like a complete stranger seeking to persuade a parrot to sing aloud, the stranger’s chances won’t be very high.
The 2014 San Antonio Spurs put on a exhibition throughout the 2014 NBA Playoffs, they steamrolled through the Western Conference and the moment they saw the Miami Heat on the other end in the 2014 NBA Finals it was like a hungry great white shark running across a baby seal in the ocean. The 6-7 passes on every possession and the lights out 3 point shooting by the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals was unlike anything I had ever seen in my 25 years of watching NBA basketball, they played elite defense and offense and with Dwyane Wade playing on one leg and a half the Spurs were able to make him work on defense and the result was Marcon Belinelli,Danny Green, and Patty Mills shooting and making 3’s like their shooting sliders were turned up all the way to 99. So the question is can the 2023 Boston Celtics replicate and going on a similar run to the 2014 San Antonio Spurs? It’s unlikely but not highly unlikely if Jayson Tatum can actually prove he is a franchise player and top 5 player in the NBA this coming season.
The Celtics had taken their lumps in the playoffs several times before their loss in the 2022 NBA Finals which was a reason I actually thought they had a chance at beating the Warriors but Jayson Tatum forgot what he was capable of when he is locked in. The Celtics are similar to the Spurs being that they have a core 3 of Tatum,Brown,and Smart much like the Spurs had Duncan,Ginobili,and Parker but you just don’t know what you’ll get from Al Horford,Robert Williams III, and Grant Williams who were all key pieces in Boston’s rotation hese past playoffs. The Malcolm Brogdon acquisition was definitely a chess move, he will actually be more of a difference maker than Derrick White who came over from San Antonio via trade through the deadline last season and be able to give them the playmaker they sorely lacked against Golden State’s switch heavy defense. Tatum and Brown were subpar in the Finals but at no moment did I expect Derrick White to take matters into his own hands and punish the Warriors.
Danilo Gallinari was another acquisition which definitely came from left-field but he is expected to return to action at best with 10-15 games left in this coming season after suffering a torn ACL in the EuroBasket tournament and no the Celtics are not interested in bringing over Carmelo Anthony to Boston to help patch up that loss. Assuming Danilo Gallinari is available come playoff time and with Malcolm Brogdon providing much needed scoring and playmaking off the bench next season, Jayson Tatum should have enough to help lead the Boston Celtics on a revenge tour 2023.
There needs to be a hirearchy beween Tatum and Brown and that seems to be the problem, when you look at the Celtics you can’t really tell who is the leaddog because Tatum keeps failing to put himself ahead on Brown with his inconsistent play. Tatum is the superior basketball player over Brown and I admire how far along Brown has come being that he was a raw athlete coming into the NBA much like Kawhi and Jimmy were and has successfully morphed himself into a legitimate go to scoring option. I would consider Jaylen Brown a dumbed down version of Dwyane Wade and anyone who watched Wade in his prime would understand I am paying Jaylen Brown a compliment being that Wade was a top 5 shooting guard all-time.
The competition will be steep for Boston as the Heat,Nets,Bucks,and Sixers will all be good enough to take them out before they even get a shot at the title in the Finals. Ime Udoka must improve as a coach as Doc Rivers,Erik Spoelstra,and Mike Budenholzer are ahead of him as head coaches at the NBA level and could all outcoach him in a 7-game series. The problem for Ime Udoka is yes basketball is a team game and you win as a team but he needs to help Jayson Tatum take his game to the next level much like Mike Budenholzer did for Giannis Antetokoumpo in Milwaukee and Steve Kerr has done for Stephen Curry in Golden State. Jayson Tatum has all the tools to not only be a top 5 player but the best player in the league, him rising to the occassion was what hindered Boston the 2022 NBA Finals so either Tatum uses that loss as a reality check or he’ll forever be remembered as the Celtic who had the potential to be a Celtic legend but settled for a few all-star appearances and personal achievement awards. We shall see but I believe the Celtics caught lightning in a bottle these past playoffs and no I don’t believe they’ll get their revenge this coming season unless Robert Williams III becomes a miniature version of Shaquille O’neal and is 100 percent healthy, till next time.