Happy thanks to all of you from CelticsBlog!
It seems like a good opportunity for us to step back and be thankful for the many blessings we have as Boston Celtics fans. Here’s a little from me. Feel free to add or share anything you missed in the comments below.
Losing in the finals
I know this sounds strange to begin with, but hear me out. Although I always prefer winning the championship because that banner hangs forever, there is an upside to success as well. Call it a growth mindset, kaizen, or just old school learning through pain. Making it to the finals and coming out narrowly has obviously fueled and focused this team. They have the confidence that they have the talent to win it all and the drive to do what it takes to get back out there. Those are the lessons that should stay with this core group for years to come.
Brad Stevens grocery shopping
What can you say more about the job Stephens had as Chief of Basketball Operations? I go back to an old Bill Parcells quote about having to cook but not buying groceries. Well, history suggests that doing both jobs at the same time is just too much for most people. But there’s something to be said for a man who cooks with this basic set going to a location where he buys groceries to complete the list. (Who’s hungry for turkey?)
Brad has shown to be decisive, unemotional (in a good way), and willing to own up to mistakes. Sure, they’ve replaced draft picks in the past three years, but no one misses this snap as they watch Al Horford, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon pitch the perfect free kicks around our superstars.
He even discovered some real gems. While cycling between several second- and third-chance players (Jabari Parker, Nik Stauskas, etc.), undrafted Sam Hauser and player Luke Kornet hit. In a list with many max or near max contracts, it is crucial to complete the rotation with the lower priced contributors.
Joe Mazola’s unwavering confidence
Nothing good came of Odoka’s condition. Period, end of story.
However, given the way things have turned out, I am grateful to Joe Mazzola for stepping up and being a constant force in the locker room. His strong confidence is contagious and the team picked it up.
While he’s still learning the job quickly, it seems pretty clear that he has the chops for the job and will continue to learn and grow into a better head coach over time.
Jason Tatum has matured
For all the jokes about Tatum being “only 19,” it was so much fun to see him mature into his prime. His game has evolved and grown. His focus has evolved. The game has slowed down for him as he sees things two steps away. He makes his teammates better and picks his spots. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate and has had a special season so far.
Growth is not linear.
Jason isn’t the only one whose game has grown. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart continue to modify and improve their games. Grant Williams made a leap that will pay off well into the off-season. Derrick White’s jump is greatly improved and he seems to be feeling more comfortable attacking. Sometimes we get stuck thinking of a player as finished products, but there is always room for growth and sometimes that growth is a pleasant surprise.
Al Horford is holding back father’s time
Speaking of pleasant surprises, I’m constantly amazed at Al Horford. LeBron has those commercials with “Father Time” but it looks like Horford could make a cameo or two as well. He’s just a rock steady of efficiency and has had one of his best shooting seasons.
The final return of Robert Williams III
A nod to the voice-over: “But wait, there’s more!” Celtics start the season as they have a blessing in itself. But having the chance to add Rob Williams into the mix is ridiculous. The team will, of course, remain vigilant and will ease it back into the spin only after every precaution has been taken. But adding his verticality and edge to this offense would be special. Not to mention protecting his edge, resulting in a defensive existence blur. I miss watching Williams play and can’t wait to see him on the field again.
What do I miss? What do you have to add? Let us know in the comments below.
And to you and yours, a very happy Thanksgiving!!!