Just a few month ago, most of the analyst projected that Boston will not play in the NBA Playoffs 2016.
They wrote about their weaknesses in the roster on the every position.
"Boston Celtics don't have a good point guard, because Isaiah Thomas is a scoring PG and he only wants to score and play in the offense.
Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner? They are the average in this league.
C and PF positions? The Celtic's don't have centers and power forwards. They don't have a consistent big guy who can play in the paint.
Jae Crowder? He played only in the defense in Dallas Mavericks. What are you talking about?"
Today, the Celtics have 8-2 in the last 10 games and they are on the 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. They have a better record than Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks. Can you believe that?
The Celtics: Without a Superstar
This is the first time, after almost 18 years that Celtics don't have a superstar. Paul Pierce was their last superstar. Every team wants to have a superstar. Fans want to have a superstar because that superstar is the face of the franchise.
This is the philosophy in the game: "If we don't have a superstar, we must play together, and we must play better than everyone, because we don't have points in our hands. We must create them as a team, we must score like a team, rebound like a team, assist like a team, defend like a team and we must play like a team. And that only matters."
When the team has a superstar, they build the team around him. But, if five of us can step together on the court, we'll build a chemistry because that is the only way to make a success. Together, we are stronger than one player.
Stevens understands that philosophy and he has improved the Celtics chemistry and they are playing with a lot of energy against every opponent. He is a young coach and he can be only better if he continues to lead this team like he did in the last month.
- Boston Celtics have the 5th best offense in the league. Just to notice: they don't have a superstar.
- They have 24.4 assists per game (4th in the league). I wrote about how important are the assists in the game today. You can read here - about the Warriors.
- The Celtics don't have great big players on the roster, but they are on the 7th place in the rebounds. The best rebounder is Jarred Sullinger with only 8.4 rebounds per game. After him, Amir Johnson has only 6.5 rpg per game. They rebound like a team.
- The Frontcourt is scoring more points (59.2 per game) than frontcourts of other teams like Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. Not bad for the team without a frontcourt, isn't it?
- Because I'm talking about frontcourt, Memphis frontcourt scored only 0.6 pts per game more than Celtics' frontcourt. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Imagine that.
- That was a positive about the frontcourt, but when we are talking about defense, they are allowing 41.4 pts in the paint (24th in the league), but that is a normal, if we looking at their roster.
If they maintain this form, the 3rd place is more than everyone predict this season.
In the next few days, if they can get Horford or Millsap, the Celtics can become one of the best team in the Eastern Conference. They should give picks for the superstar at this moment, because they can attack the Eastern Conference Final. Why not?
Isaiah Thomas: The Hearth of the City
Only 23 players in NBA history have been at a listed height of 5 feet, 9 inches or shorter. Two are currently active (Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas). The shortest player and only player at this height to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is Calvin Murphy, at 5 feet, 9 inches. With one exception, Dino Martin (a forward), all of the players listed here have played or play the position of point guard. The source: List of shortest players in National Basketball Association history.
Isaiah Thomas finally can play like a starter and he deserved that in the past. At this moment, he is the 4th point guard in the league in the category points per game.
Russell Westbrook scoring only 2.7 points more than Isaiah (21.4) this season. But, Russell has 2 shots more per game than Isaiah and he is a leader of the Thunder, with Kevin Durant.
Most important for Isaiah is that he learns how to assist. He has 6.6 assists per game and he is on the 7th place in the league (only PG). Kyle Lowry has 6.2 assists per game.
He is the most underrated player in the NBA at this moment. So far, he is the leader of the Boston Celtics and we'll see how he can adjust if the Celtics add the better player in the paint.
It's very important for the Celtics to realize that they can play with M. Smart and Isaiah in the same roster, because they are playing different styles.
Stevens can use Smart like a lockdown defender, and with that move, he can change the balance in the game, from the offense to the defense.
The next game is against the Los Angeles Clippers. We'll see the duel between Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas.
And between DeAndre Jordan and Jared Sullinger, of course. :D