Did the Boston Celtics fool everyone?

The Celtics enjoyed tremendous success early this season, causing many to consider them legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. But a recent slide has some folks jumping off the Boston bandwagon and wondering whether the Celtics were vastly overrated.

FS1’s Nick Wright even believes this year’s Celtics team is a “slightly lesser version” of the 2016-17 Boston squad that earned a No. 1 seed but ultimately was overmatched by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.

There’s no denying the Celtics — owners of a 40-19 record — limped into the All-Star break. They’ve lost nine of their last 15 games, including their last three, and simply haven’t looked the same. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum seemingly have hit a wall, and Boston’s defense has sputtered in recent weeks.

So, are the C’s really worse than last season’s team that went 53-29 in the regular season? Well, it’s difficult to gauge with this season’s roster — led by Kyrie Irving instead of Isaiah Thomas — looking so much different on paper. But the Celtics’ recent struggles aren’t encouraging, and they’ll certainly test head coach Brad Stevens’ ability to make adjustments in the second half.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images