Still, it feels like the Celtics are operating on borrowed time. They’ll be huge underdogs in their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, especially with Jaylen Brown sidelined after undergoing wrist surgery, and Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge already acknowledged the organization will make “changes” this offseason.
But what kinds of “changes” might the Celtics make in their quest to become NBA Finals contenders?
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski shared his initial expectations for Boston’s offseason Wednesday on “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin.”
“They need more talent,” Wojnarowski said. “They’ve had a talent drain there over the last few years that’s eaten away at their core players but also at their depth. You saw a bench this year that wasn’t nearly good enough. Certainly, they had injuries, they had COVID. They didn’t defend nearly as well as you’ve seen them defend in previous years. But I still think that core in Boston of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Brad Stevens — those are still three people you build around as an organization over the long run. And then Kemba Walker’s knee has certainly been a big factor. You saw the way he played (Tuesday) night. A healthy Kemba Walker, even without Jaylen Brown, makes them a much more dangerous team.”
It’ll be tough for Ainge to sell running it back with largely the same group. It seems like there’s something keeping the young C’s from reaching their full potential, and it’s hard to imagine Boston taking the next step with only minor tweaks to the roster.
That said, there might not be a better alternative in the coming months. And therefore, the Celtics’ success in the 2021-22 season (and beyond) simply could be tied to the continued development of Tatum and Brown, two legitimate franchise cornerstones with room for additional growth.
All in all, it’s not an ideal situation for the Celtics, who once appeared to be on the cusp of building a powerhouse. Now, they’re more or less stuck in the middle — as a talented but flawed team coming off an underwhelming regular season.