With Kyrie Irving injured, many NBA fans wrote off the Boston Celtics going deep in the playoffs. Now, here they are in the Eastern Finals going up against Lebron James and the Cavs now up 2-0. All with veteran players, role players, rookie and sophomore players. No Superstars at all.
1. Young but athletic and long.
Yes, most of the players have not been at this level of NBA basketball, but with their youth and athleticism as well as being long, they can seriously give pressure to any opposing team. Youth means energy, long wingspans means they can contest almost any type of shot and athleticism to keep themselves in front of the opposing players and forcing them to make difficult shots.
2. Brad Stevens.
The coach of the Boston Celtics has done a great job of turning this team around despite doubters writing them off after Kyrie Irving got injured. However, despite getting all the praise Brad Stevens said “It’s silly, the praise is uncomfortable, and it’s just something that these guys should be getting it all. We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can.” While its true that he's been getting praised like he won two or three championships, we can’t deny that he's done an amazing job with this team.
3. The rookie Jayson Tatum.
Donovan Mitchell was soaring past people's expectations and Ben Simmons incredible passing ability but people tend to forget that Boston also has a rookie just as good as them. In fact, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was so sold on Tatum that he traded the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia for the No. 3 pick and another first-round pick and what a steal. In an article in USAToday the coach Brad Stevens praised him, "As he gets more experience, he’s getting better...He’s done a great job working in the weight room. He’s been doing different things to continue to go through the long season, and he’s really, really starting to peak."
With no superstar leading the charge, its up to the players to rely on each other in order to contribute and so far have they contributed well. Moving the ball and not relying on one person to make something happen. Talking to each other in the defensive end and not letting egos get in the way of team success.
Defense is always a main factor in anything and the Celtics have definitely made sure of it. The Celtics had the top-ranked defense in the NBA during the regular season. They were a versatile, gritty, screen-switching group that typically turned games into a chore for opposing offenses. In addition to being young, they can play around all game long.
The injuries to Kyrie and Gordon Hayward at first looked like a curse but it actually gave layers like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier to shine and lead this Celtic team to an incredible run.