Expectations weighed on the Boston Celtics

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet

The Boston Celtics 2 were two wins away from winning the The NBA Finals. They restore their essence and have added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari (TBD returns) to it. They are ready to take the next step and raise another banner in the rafters. right?

This is the line of thinking that makes the Celtics the favorites to win the title this year. But is this logic valid? Or is it more complicated than that? (Well, yes, skillful reader, of course it’s more complicated than that. You’re smart to tell with my simplified setup.)

Winning the NBA championship is always difficult. Always. Even for an overwhelming favorite. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the season and after season. From injuries to team chemistry to matches to just bad luck.

I will present that one complicating factor that is not underestimated is the weight of expectations. Maybe some players on the team can’t handle the extra pressure. Some feel overly conceited and feel awkward when crammed into the same role they played the year before. Other teams suddenly cycle around the calendar to remove new favourites.

For example, one need look no further than the 2018-19 Boston Celtics. The logic heading into this season was apparently sound, too. They reached the Eastern Conference Finals the previous season with their star players who had sustained injuries. So it makes sense that she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and seemed destined for greatness.

We all know how it went. Young players who carried the team into the playoffs expected bigger roles. Stars who came back from injury were unable or unwilling to adapt their matches. In short, there were too many mouths to feed and they never found their balance as a team.

This is the part where I take a right turn and explain why this year’s team is different.

With all that said, the Celtics 2022-23 is not the Celtics 2018-19. There is a clear hierarchy and the two stars were instrumental in the success of the previous season. Everyone else on the team, including new players, at least publicly acknowledges and accepts their role in the current ecosystem. They all try to improve and maximize their talents, but they seem to understand that team success will translate into faster achievement of their personal goals.

Some of the credit goes to coach Aimee Odoka. Not only does he have Tottenham’s culture pedigree, but he was the one who made this team buy last year. This entry led directly to the NBA Finals, so everyone should be back on the plate this time around.

It also takes a winning mindset from players to really buy into (instead of giving the concept just nonsense). Look down the list of the main rotation players. From Marcus Smart to Alhorford to Derek White to Robert Williams III. Everyone seems to be hard-wired to win as the primary goal.

Now I’m going back the other way and offering some cautionary warnings.

There are still challenges regarding the rising outlook. Jason Tatum is expected to compete for the Most Valuable Player award. Anything less than that would be seen as a disappointment, and that’s really a really high one that should be maintained all year round. Jaylen Brown will have to answer questions early on about participating in the trade talks (again). While his free agency is still two years away, his performance on the court could play a major role and he will play a key role in the percentage of the maximum he will be able to earn in his next contract. Odoka managed to convince the team to sell in part because of the big hole they dug for themselves early in the year. If they achieve some early success, will he find the right motivation to keep them on the right track instead of slipping into old habits?

Do not forget that the rest of the countries of the East came out to eradicate the Celtics. There are only 3 teams that don’t have much hope of breathing in play, but the rest of the conference will come out to win as many basketball games as possible. The Bucks will be back with a healthier (wooden ways) roster. The Miami Heat and philly 76ers I will come back. strange that Brooklyn Networks they came back. This will not be an easy path by any means.

And now optimists are thriving.

I still believe in this team. Not only because of the easy narration, but because I’ve seen something grow in their personality and culture over the past several years. I think Tatum and Brown are getting ready to have their best years yet. I think the team around them is not only talented, but well suited to maximizing their style. I think a defensive identity would give them plenty of room for error.

In short, expectations are high because this team could be very special. We hope they meet and perhaps even exceed expectations this year and for years to come.