2023-24 Celtics

HomeRunBaker

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JJ is also unique in the media that he understands basketball, not just narratives.

(Plus Mazzulla interviewed him for an assistant job, so there's some rapport there clearly.)
I forgot about that interview. It’s very clear the way Redick speaks of him that he has a ton of respect for him after going through that process.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Sabonis is definitely on that bubble, despite his place on the MVP ladder.

...

Jokic, SGA, Luka, Giannis, Tatum, Brunson. How does Sabonis finish above one of those guys, let alone Edwards, Durant, Kawhi...he wouldn't be in my top 10.
Other than some double-double obsessed, Jayson Stark-ish writer fixated on minutae/statistical quirks I really see zero case for Sabonis being anywhere near the top 6. He's a very good, and flawed player...
 

lovegtm

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Other than some double-double obsessed, Jayson Stark-ish writer fixated on minutae/statistical quirks I really see zero case for Sabonis being anywhere near the top 6. He's a very good, and flawed player...
Yeah, he really shouldn't be in the All-NBA convo imo, and wouldn't be, if people weren't really into triple-doubles.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Other than some double-double obsessed, Jayson Stark-ish writer fixated on minutae/statistical quirks I really see zero case for Sabonis being anywhere near the top 6. He's a very good, and flawed player...
I don’t rate Sabonis anywhere close to where many have him. Very good, not great, offensive player. Very bad, like really bad, defensive player.
 

PedroKsBambino

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One of Sacramento's big problems is that their two 'stars' (Sabonis and Fox) are both guys who are at least somewhat questionable as playoff guys....defensively and really in each case at least more limited offensively. It just feels like there's such a ceiling on that roster. Fox certainly less so than Sabonis.

A bit of an interesting choice for them - if you really want to be a contender you need to flip one of those guys (most likely Sabonis, who is more limited...though Fox to me has a higher delta and more long-term concerns) to try and create a playoff roster, accepting a possible half step back. Keegan Martin helps, as he, Huerter, Monk are pretty interesting as a supporting group. But you need different fit/different focal guys for this to really be viable in the playoffs, imo. The defense just isn't there either.

I can't figure out the deal, though, especially since I suspect Kings are higher on this core (and those guys) than most teams out there are
 

Jimbodandy

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I'm watching Sabonis go from overrated to underrated real-time.

Guy is certainly limited and has proven that his OK 3PT% doesn't hold up with volume. And his defense is not good. But it's not terrible. And despite not being a threat from distance, he's a damn efficient scorer at good volume.

I think the problem with the Kings is that Sabonis and Fox aren't good enough to be your 1st and 2nd best players.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I'm watching Sabonis go from overrated to underrated real-time.

Guy is certainly limited and has proven that his OK 3PT% doesn't hold up with volume. And his defense is not good. But it's not terrible. And despite not being a threat from distance, he's a damn efficient scorer at good volume.

I think the problem with the Kings is that Sabonis and Fox aren't good enough to be your 1st and 2nd best players.
That’s very fair on Sabonis. I wouldn’t call that underrated….it’s just that the talk of him is still of Top-10 and in some cases as high as 6th.
 

PJ Martinez

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The thing is, Sabonis and Fox have really rejuvenated that franchise, even if the ceiling of any team led by them is not that high. I think the best-case scenario is that the Kings are able to keep putting decent players around them and making the playoffs, a la the beloved grit-n-grind Grizzles of a few years back. They won't win a title, but it can still be fun for a while.
 

Auger34

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I'm watching Sabonis go from overrated to underrated real-time.

Guy is certainly limited and has proven that his OK 3PT% doesn't hold up with volume. And his defense is not good. But it's not terrible. And despite not being a threat from distance, he's a damn efficient scorer at good volume.

I think the problem with the Kings is that Sabonis and Fox aren't good enough to be your 1st and 2nd best players.
Sabonis is a very good player but he's REALLY tough to build a championship roster around. He's a big guy who can't protect the rim or shoot the 3 very well and it's not like he's the most mobile athlete, so it's tough to have him play and hedge off someone in the corner. It's hard to get other players that can fix those weaknesses
 

m0ckduck

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The conundrum around Sabonis is pretty easy to unpack:

The glass-half-full case is:

Player A: 79 G, 17.9 FGA, 26.4 PPG, .583 FG%, 12.4 REB, 9.0 AST
Player B: 82 G, 13.0 FGA, 19.4 PPG, .594 FG%, 13.7 REB, 8.2 AST

Player A is Jokic, player B is Sabonis. You can absolutely understand a robot or alien absorbing this data, learning that Player A (Jokic) is the best player in the world and assuming that Sabonis must be top 6 at worst. They're nearly the same guy statistically— Jokic just takes 5 more shots and hits 2-3 of them.

The glass half-empty case for him is:

A 3rd-team All NBA guy should be someone you can feel good about winning a title with as your second best player. James, Curry, Brown, Booker, George, etc all check this box. Sabonis does not. That's where the gap is. He and KAT are the hardest two players in the league to rank for the same reason: top 10 offensive production that doesn't map to team success.
 
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lovegtm

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Player A: 79 G, 17.9 FGA, 26.4 PPG, .583 FG%, 12.4 REB, 9.0 AST
Player B: 82 G, 13.0 FGA, 19.4 PPG, .594 FG%, 13.7 REB, 8.2 AST

Player A is Jokic, player B is Sabonis.
This is one of the best summaries I've ever seen for "why box score stats tell you very, very little about basketball"
 

m0ckduck

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I don’t disagree in general, but Player A is scoring almost 7 more PPG than Player B. Those lines are not the same.
Nobody's saying they're the same. But if Player A is the consensus best player in the world, how can B be worse to a robot or alien than... 6th? 10th maybe?

And to be clear, I'm not a Sabonis guy. I don't think he belongs in 3rd team all-NBA this season. I'm only saying that he's a very confusing player to evaluate.
 

Ed Hillel

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Ok, so the East has set up in such a way that the Celtics really ought to not face a real challenge until the ECF. Plus Giannis/Embiid/Randle are hurt. There will likely never be an easier path to the finals than now for any Tatum-led Boston team. Plus they are historically good.

Let’s do this.
 

bosockboy

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Ok, so the East has set up in such a way that the Celtics really ought to not face a real challenge until the ECF. Plus Giannis/Embiid/Randle are hurt. There will likely never be an easier path to the finals than now for any Tatum-led Boston team. Plus they are historically good.

Let’s do this.
And Butler is gone.
 

joe dokes

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Coach is working them like dogs in practice.

https://www.masslive.com/celtics/2024/04/celtics-guard-describes-joe-mazzullas-crazy-practice-drills.html?outputType=amp

"Training camp for the playoffs", he calls it.
Full court, no dribbling for two minutes, three minutes, something like that,” Holiday said. “That was one of the first drills we did, and I don’t think we expected that. A lot of stuff (Tuesday) was definitely to kind of get our wind and kind of learn how to play with each other without necessarily dribbling the ball.”
I love this. I had a coach in HS who made *everyone* do a lap if a big dribbled after an offensive rebound or receiving a pass the coach deemed "close enough to the basket to make a move without dribbling." He also ran 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 drills where a dribble on offense meant a whistle and a lap.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Ok, so the East has set up in such a way that the Celtics really ought to not face a real challenge until the ECF. Plus Giannis/Embiid/Randle are hurt. There will likely never be an easier path to the finals than now for any Tatum-led Boston team. Plus they are historically good.

Let’s do this.
Wait until we see who comes out of the WC and how drained/banged up they are!!

The time is NOW!
 

lexrageorge

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Wait until we see who comes out of the WC and how drained/banged up they are!!

The time is NOW!
Yep. These injuries to Butler, Embiid, Giannis, et al are a stark reminder that the Celtics and their fans should be all in for the title right now. Nobody can predict what will happen next season with regards to injuries. Flags Fly Forever!
 

lovegtm

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Yep. These injuries to Butler, Embiid, Giannis, et al are a stark reminder that the Celtics and their fans should be all in for the title right now. Nobody can predict what will happen next season with regards to injuries. Flags Fly Forever!
At this rate, it's going to be PP battling it out against Cason Wallace for Finals MVP.
 

Auger34

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Wait until we see who comes out of the WC and how drained/banged up they are!!

The time is NOW!
It really is setting up absolutely perfectly for the Celtics. If they stay healthy, they should be able to buzzsaw their way to the ECF. I would think that they play the Knicks, who won't be an easy out, but I can't imagine them beating the Celtics 4 times in 7 games...

Now lets hope the West either knocks Denver out or gives them hell the entire way to the Finals
 

lars10

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It really is setting up absolutely perfectly for the Celtics. If they stay healthy, they should be able to buzzsaw their way to the ECF. I would think that they play the Knicks, who won't be an easy out, but I can't imagine them beating the Celtics 4 times in 7 games...

Now lets hope the West either knocks Denver out or gives them hell the entire way to the Finals
It’s kind of the reverse of last year.. where Denver had the much easier path and the East was a rock fight.. although the Celts got in their own way a lot last year as well.
 

NoXInNixon

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Ok, so the East has set up in such a way that the Celtics really ought to not face a real challenge until the ECF. Plus Giannis/Embiid/Randle are hurt. There will likely never be an easier path to the finals than now for any Tatum-led Boston team. Plus they are historically good.

Let’s do this.
The Celtics should sweep the first round, and the other three series look like 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the second round, while the other matchup is another 6-7 game slugfest. So the Celtics should sweep the ECF, while the Western Conference is going to be 7 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the NBA finals.

16-0 is on the table.
 

Euclis20

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It’s kind of the reverse of last year.. where Denver had the much easier path and the East was a rock fight.. although the Celts got in their own way a lot last year as well.
If you told us before the play in last year that the Celtics would get Atlanta in round 1, Philly (with a hobbled Embiid) in round 2 and Miami in round 3, that would look like a pretty sweet track to the finals. 2022 was the brutal path (Kyrie/Durant Nets in R1, defending champ Bucks on R2 and 1 seed Miami in R3), go figure.
 

lovegtm

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If you told us before the play in last year that the Celtics would get Atlanta in round 1, Philly (with a hobbled Embiid) in round 2 and Miami in round 3, that would look like a pretty sweet track to the finals. 2022 was the brutal path (Kyrie/Durant Nets in R1, defending champ Bucks on R2 and 1 seed Miami in R3), go figure.
I think that, in hindsight:

2022:
- Nets were worse than people thought, and the Celtics had the bodies to really shut down KD
- Bucks and Miami were both pretty flawed teams, especially with Middleton out, and the Cs only squeaked by them
- GSW was a flawed team, but Tatum's injury+underperformance made them look better

2023:
- The Cs just weren't as good as people gave them credit for, coming off that Finals appearance, and that started to show, particularly when Brogdon's arm fell off.

This all comes back to the Cs having been a bit overrated since the late 2022 regular season push. That was all predicated on versions of TL and Smart that we haven't seen since, and ultimately wasn't sustainable. It's also prior to Jaylen making a significant jump this year: he's a much better #2 guy now. I'm as guilty as anyone in this overrating.

Fortunately, Wyc and Brad correctly evaluated that group and made massive changes.
 

Spelunker

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The Celtics should sweep the first round, and the other three series look like 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the second round, while the other matchup is another 6-7 game slugfest. So the Celtics should sweep the ECF, while the Western Conference is going to be 7 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the NBA finals.

16-0 is on the table.
That would be good for my blood pressure.
 

benhogan

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I think that, in hindsight:

2022:
- Nets were worse than people thought, and the Celtics had the bodies to really shut down KD
- Bucks and Miami were both pretty flawed teams, especially with Middleton out, and the Cs only squeaked by them
- GSW was a flawed team, but Tatum's injury+underperformance made them look better

2023:
- The Cs just weren't as good as people gave them credit for, coming off that Finals appearance, and that started to show, particularly when Brogdon's arm fell off.

This all comes back to the Cs having been a bit overrated since the late 2022 regular season push. That was all predicated on versions of TL and Smart that we haven't seen since, and ultimately wasn't sustainable. It's also prior to Jaylen making a significant jump this year: he's a much better #2 guy now. I'm as guilty as anyone in this overrating.

Fortunately, Wyc and Brad correctly evaluated that group and made massive changes.
+1.

I too was over-effusive about the 2nd half of 2022, but in retrospect, it was too soon for Jayson (24) & Jaylen (25) - along with a suboptimal supporting cast.

Frankly, it still may be too soon for the JAYs, since they are both improving & they have just started entering their peak seasons.
(At least that's what I'm telling myself until they win a LOB)
 

lovegtm

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+1.

I too was over-effusive about the 2nd half of 2022, but in retrospect, it was too soon for Jayson (24) & Jaylen (25) - along with a suboptimal supporting cast.

Frankly, it still may be too soon for the JAYs, since they are both improving & they have just started entering their peak seasons.
(At least that's what I'm telling myself until they win a LOB)
A healthy, DPOY-level Timelord was the key to that run. Prime Smart too. It's a much different team with those guys.
 

lars10

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A healthy, DPOY-level Timelord was the key to that run. Prime Smart too. It's a much different team with those guys.
And has been gone over many times.. JM basically getting thrown into the season without his own assistants was pretty key as well.

I also think if White had been allowed to take some of Marcus’ minutes that maybe the playoffs would have gone a little differently. As it was, it’s still a really high bar saying getting to game 7 of the ECF is a failure.

timelord not being himself was also huge.. in the limited time that was his prime, he changed games all by himself.

It’s really incredible how much the lineup changed between seasons.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The Celtics should sweep the first round, and the other three series look like 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the second round, while the other matchup is another 6-7 game slugfest. So the Celtics should sweep the ECF, while the Western Conference is going to be 7 6-7 game slugfests. So the Celtics should sweep the NBA finals.

16-0 is on the table.
These next two months could be the difference between the Celtics being regarded as one of the games all-time choke teams or one of the, if not THE, all-time greatest. Love this ride.
 

lovegtm

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And has been gone over many times.. JM basically getting thrown into the season without his own assistants was pretty key as well.

I also think if White had been allowed to take some of Marcus’ minutes that maybe the playoffs would have gone a little differently. As it was, it’s still a really high bar saying getting to game 7 of the ECF is a failure.

timelord not being himself was also huge.. in the limited time that was his prime, he changed games all by himself.

It’s really incredible how much the lineup changed between seasons.
Totally agree re CJM. My point was that the personnel itself was overrated once TL declined, Smart (imo) declined, and Jaylen wasn't 2024 Jaylen.
 

Euclis20

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These next two months could be the difference between the Celtics being regarded as one of the games all-time choke teams or one of the, if not THE, all-time greatest. Love this ride.
Agreed. I think a reasonable finals loss to Denver (i.e. not blowing a 3-0 or 3-1 lead) is the only thing that has them regarded differently than the above.
 

m0ckduck

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Agreed. I think a reasonable finals loss to Denver (i.e. not blowing a 3-0 or 3-1 lead) is the only thing that has them regarded differently than the above.
Don't forget about option C: devastating rash of injuries earns them an "incomplete" mark. It's already happened to like 25% of the playoff teams and we haven't even gotten started yet.
 

bigq

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These next two months could be the difference between the Celtics being regarded as one of the games all-time choke teams or one of the, if not THE, all-time greatest. Love this ride.
Quite a story line. We'll see how it plays out but if they don't win a championship I may not consider it an all time choke but no doubt some will and it will probably become a common national narrative. Stakes are high. This will be fun.
 

lars10

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Totally agree re CJM. My point was that the personnel itself was overrated once TL declined, Smart (imo) declined, and Jaylen wasn't 2024 Jaylen.
I also think Brogdon’s injury was important.. without his scoring there was a lot more pressure on the Js to step up .. feel like Brogdon was helping a lot with second units until he couldn’t hit any shots anymore, especially with his defense.there were a whole host of factors that had to go just so for the celts to miss going to the finals by a game. It’s really only disappointing because of the standard they’ve set.
 

Auger34

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Quite a story line. We'll see how it plays out but if they don't win a championship I may not consider it an all time choke but no doubt some will and it will probably become a common national narrative. Stakes are high. This will be fun.
Really depends on how it shakes out.

IF the top 6 stay healthy and they don’t make the Finals then @HomeRunBaker is right, it may be the biggest choke job in NBA history. I’d honestly have to think about taking a break from the NBA.

if there are injuries, then I think we can all agree that it’s an incomplete
 

HomeRunBaker

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Really depends on how it shakes out.

IF the top 6 stay healthy and they don’t make the Finals then @HomeRunBaker is right, it may be the biggest choke job in NBA history. I’d honestly have to think about taking a break from the NBA.

if there are injuries, then I think we can all agree that it’s an incomplete
To be clear i was saying that the national media and fans of all other teams would consider it a massive choke.
 

Red Right Arm

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Don't forget about option C: devastating rash of injuries earns them an "incomplete" mark. It's already happened to like 25% of the playoff teams and we haven't even gotten started yet.
When was the last time this much all star talent was injured going into the playoffs? Especially clustered in one conference like this?

Embiid, Randle, Giannis, Butler, Zach Lavine, Haliburton hasn't been the same... Maybe it's just recency bias but it seems excessive.