Is now the time for the Boston Celtics to rule the East?
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge had a vision of the future once he traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. Ainge decided to hire Brad Stevens from Butler University as the Celtics head coach. He felt like Stevens could work with young players and develop them.
Stevens went to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and 2011. He has done a great job coaching up Jaylen Brown (2016 first round pick) and Jayson Tatum (2017 first round pick). The Celtics traded the Brooklyn 2018 first round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Isaiah Thomas, and a 2020 second round pick for Kyrie Irving.
Irving has averaged 20.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.2 APG and 1.9 SPG so far this season. Irving is actually passionate about playing defense and he requested a trade from the Cavaliers and he got his wish.
Irving is one of the reasons why the Boston Celtics are off to a 13-2 start, which is currently the best record in the NBA. They have won 13 straight games and the Celtics play the Golden State Warriors (11-3) at home on Thursday Night.
Gordon Hayward went down in the first quarter on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a gruesome injury. It looked as if the Celtics would be in trouble, but the complete opposite has happened. If Gordon Hayward can find a way to return this season which is highly unlikely, the Cleveland Cavaliers chances of going back to the NBA Finals would be on the ropes.
Cleveland hasn't played inspired ball and they can't just afford to turn on the switch once the playoffs begin. The Cavaliers are also an older team and Lebron James could bolt once again after this season. Boston is showing that you can't take games for granted and you have to develop good habits early and often.
Because they are developing good habits, it is showing success on the stat sheet. Jaylen Brown is averaging 14.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.1 SPG so far this season. Jayson Tatum is averaging 14 PPG and 5.7 RPG so far this season.
Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are averaging 9.6 PPG off the bench. Al Horford is averaging 15.3 PPG 8.8 RPG and 4.5 APG so far this season. Marcus Morris has been a surprising factor for the Celtics this season by averaging 13.7 PPG and 5.7 RPG.
Not only are the Celtics set up to win the east this season, but they are also set up to win multiple NBA championships in the near future. Boston still has multiple first round picks from other teams in the next few years.
2018: Los Angeles Lakers (If pick falls between 2-5) and Boston's own pick.
2019: Philadelphia 76ers or Sacramento Kings (If the Lakers' 2018 pick falls outside 2-5, Boston will instead have a choice between the 76ers top-1 protected pick or Sacramento's top-1 pick in 2019), Memphis Grizzles (If pick falls out of top 8), Los Angeles Clippers (if pick falls out of top 14), and Boston's own pick.
2020: Memphis Grizzlies (If the pick hasn't been conveyed and falls out of top 6), Los Angeles Clippers (If the pick hasn't been conveyed and falls out of top 14), and Boston's own pick.
2021: Memphis Grizzlies (If the pick hasn't been conveyed it would be unprotected) and Boston's own pick.