top of page

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!

Evaluating The Celtics Heading Into The Business End Of 2024

Like most fans utter around all-star break, it is hard to fathom that the 2023-2024 NBA regular season has nearly wrapped up. The Boston Celtics are still unwavering from the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and the NBA as a whole. Yet, the top of the throne is seemingly trivial at this point. Teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder might celebrate being situated at such an elevated seed because they do not have the same aspirations that a team who has been to the Eastern Conference Finals in five of the last seven years does. There is much to take away from 65 Celtics games that might or might not translate into the playoffs.

On Paper, They Look Like The Favorites

Some overall team stats that jump off the page are first in offensive rating, third in defensive rating and first in net rating. All three stats coherently paint a picture that lands the Celtics in yet another Eastern Conference Finals at the least, barring a total meltdown or significant injury. According to msn.com, the Beantown Boys are on pace to win 64 games. However, a 60-win team does not measure nor determine success in the playoffs. Since the culmination of the 2018-2019 season, NBA teams that have won at least 60 games did not go onto win the championship in that respective season. Those teams were the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, which presumably means that teams who go full throttle in the regular season tend to flame out in the playoffs.


Facing adversity is the supreme method to build character. The 2022-2023 Miami Heat are prime examples of this when they made it all the way out of the play-in to reach the Finals. Not one NBA fanatic, reporter and player had them going that far which serves as testament to never write teams off before the playoffs. Of course, adversity is not always a given, as proven by the dynasty that was and still might be the Golden State Warriors. But a smooth road always seems too good to be true. The consistency of the Celtics hopefully gets their teams to the ultimate goal.

Leading the Charge from Beyond the Arc But Seeking Balance Inside

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been a top-three duo for years now, as validated by their all-star selections. The two all-stars, along with the rest of the formidable cast have helped the Celtics reach the number one team in terms of three-point shot makes and top five in the percentage in which they hit them. Tatum and Brown are hitting threes at an about average for their career percentage, but their one major woe is going inside and attacking the rim. Celtics want to see more drives towards the rim when the three ball is not working. Undoubtedly, they rank among the top finishers in the league. However, to give credit to their strategy, it's possible that they're taking numerous shots to ensure they have fresher legs come playoff time.


Using the eyesight test, it can be somewhat difficult to watch when Tatum does not have the pull-up game going but he certainly hits them with moderate efficiency. Brown, on the other hand, is truly to the Robin to Tatum`s Batman. He does not receive much flack when the Celtics lose. He might have the best and least-troublesome job in the World. No backlash, no blame, all-star status and making $304 million dollars to be a sidekick is an easy task to wake up to everyday.

The X-Factors and Others

Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis are the two luxuries and x-factors this season. On some nights, White`s and Porzingis` production has eclipsed what Brown does. White is a menace on both sides of the floor. He blocks shots and makes them in a timely manner. What is most impressive about White is his ability to navigate around screens and whether to over or under them. Indeed, it feels as if White is the heart break kid, because if Tatum and Brown are playing poorly, he picks the slack up.


Porzingis is going to be quintessential to the Celtic`s post-season success. He is the best Celtics center since Kevin Garnett and if he can stay healthy then the team seems virtually unbeatable. Being a mismatch nightmare and post threat that can shoot step-back threes is a dynamic the team has never had the luxury of. This is the best team he has played with in his entire career which is bonkers because he plays third or fourth fiddle some nights. The Celtics need to manage his minutes even more wisely from here on out so that coach Mazzulla can utilize him even more come playoff time when the rotation gets tighter.


Jrue Holiday is just riding along. He does not have a well-defined role as of yet, but fans would love to see him be more aggressive in the playoffs when other teams guard on the two stars. He is going to be perhaps one of the two major veteran presences on this team when it comes to playoff longevity behind Al Horford. Horford, with a limited role now compared to years prior, is Porzingis insurance and Luke Kornet is Horford insurance. Those are three stretch bigs that can play under the rim and hit the threes.


The two smoking guns, Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser are also going to be more important than they seem right now. Hitting five threes in a game can win a playoff game and luckily, they are both more than trustworthy when it comes to opening up the floor. As Marcus Smart did once upon a time, fans can look right into the future where Pritchard and Hauser just cannot miss which will decide a playoff game. To keep a blowout a blowout, Oshae Brissett and newly acquired Xavier Tillman are serviceable, end of the bench players who have a tremendous amount of experience in meaningful games.


With Joel Embiid presumably out and the Milwaukee Bucks as a team, wavering, the Eastern Conference is wide open. The 2023-2024 Boston Celtics are the best Boston team in the Tatum and Brown era. Falling short would be a complete disaster and letdown for Boston sports. The two stars have reliable pieces around them that makes their jobs a whole lot easier. Let this be the year that determines that the Celtics are no longer championship flukes.

 

Read more NBA news from Stadium Rant here: NBA News


EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS: 


Order your favorite whiskey or spirit for the big game right to your doorstep and use code STADIUMRANT10 for a 10% discount at Caskers


Use code STADIUMRANT20 for a 20% discount at Bulletproof Coffee, SwingJuice and Performix


If you love to shotgun beers, use code STADIUMRANT10 at Wild Man Drinking Company.


MORE FROM STADIUM RANT:


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our newsletter here.


Check out Stadium Rant Original shows on our Youtube channel and subscribe!


Give our socials Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok a follow for more great content!


Comments


bottom of page