The Boston Celtics took the floor to begin the 2023-24 season with a significantly different supporting cast around co-stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, which from the start of the offseason, was the plan.

Following last season’s dissapointing playoff exit, in which the team crumbled in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat, something needed to change. Team governor Wyc Grousbeck wasn’t content with settling for mediocrity and squandering yet another chance at the NBA Finals prompted Boston’s front office to be very proactive in the offseason.

“I walked in and met with Joe (Mazzulla) and Brad (Stevens) and said, ‘I know one thing: we’re not bringing this team back,'” Grousbeck told Duke Castiglione of WCVB on Wednesday. “That was over the summer. It was two years in a row with really good teams that fell short and I knew they were inconsistent. We were hot and cold, high and low.”

The Celtics had two golden chances to capitalize. First, against a past-prime Golden State Warriors team with a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals in 2022. Then again last season, falling to a Miami team that barely snuck into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the East. In both instances, the Celtics had a handful of opportunities to close out but allowed self-produced stretches of miscues and inefficiency to overrule the ultimate end of their season.

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Grousbeck (understandably) had enough.

In shocking fashion, Boston parted ways with Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon, among others, to acquire Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday in two separate trades out of the blue.

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“Did I know we were gonna get Porzingis and Holiday? No, I did not,” Grousbeck added.

Smart, whom fans resonated with better than anyone else on the roster, was the team’s heart and soul while Williams and Brogdon had also earned the TD Garden crowd’s respect. Williams was a highlight-producing defensive machine and Brogdon, making the ultimate sacrifice playing off the bench, earned Sixth Man of the Year honors by remaining as productive as most starting guards across the league.

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That added risky implications to both trades, respectively.

However, with nearly three-quarters of the regular season already in the books, we’ve learned a number of things about the new-look Celtics. They’re a significantly better-oiled machine with Porzingis playing inside, shooting a career-best 62.4% from 2-point range, and Holiday, who’s drained an NBA-leading 63% of 3-point field goals from the corner spots.

Those two, coupled with the emergence of Derrick White, who’s averaged a career-high 15.6 points and leads all guards in blocks per game (1.2), help propel the Celtics to heights the 2022 and ’23 teams never could. They’ve allowed Tatum and Brown to grow, not as scorers, but as facilitators, targeting the high-efficient shot attempts to prevent cold offensive stretches, that in past years, opposing teams would rally and capitalize on routinely.

Boston owns the league lead in wins (46) with 24 games remaining before the playoffs, and what’s been most impressive is the absence of any notable cold skits. The Celtics have consistently remained poised, losing just once to a team below .500 while defending their home floor (27-3) better than anyone.

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The big question is how will that translate when the bright lights begin to shine and the season is on the line?

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images