Avery Bradley Makes a Bold Championship Statement


One year ago today any talks about the Boston Celtics contending for a championship would have been shot down and even ridiculed. Fortunately, things changed during their rebuilding season and it has given at least one Celtic the confidence that his squad can reach the pinnacle.

Avery Bradley did make any attempt at guaranteeing a championship or even guaranteeing a finals appearance. All he did was proclaim “We made it to the playoffs this year and nobody expected us. Why not get to the championship? No one is expecting us to do it. Why not?”. Well, a lot of people may not have the most faith in a team that just shipped out its best players and is clearly in a rebuilding phase.

That being said, Bradley’s statement may not be so far fetched. The Celtics had to wait until after acquiring Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline last season in order to get any kind of roster stability. The team had all kinds of players in and out of the lineup and with injuries making it even worse it was simply impossible for Brad Stevens to create a unified team.

Apr 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) gestures while watching game action against Toronto Raptors with team mates (from left) Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressley and Jonas Jerebko on the bench at Air Canada Centre. The Celtics won 117-116 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Once things settled after the trade deadline, the Celtics finally got things rolling and they were rewarded with an unexpected playoff appearance following the second best record in the east after the trade dealing.

The Celtics had a very brief stint in the post season as the Cavaliers took them out in four games but the Cavaliers did not receive much more resistance from any other teams in the East. The Bulls took them to six games but don’t forget the Celtics are the only team that had to play against a healthy Kevin Love.

There is reason for optimism in Boston but championship aspirations will still be conditional. The Celtics, as they stand now, are just not talented enough to compete. Even if Love decides to leave the Cavaliers they will have a year of chemistry under their belt and theres a good chance they will be even better next season.

The Celtics are currently on the brink of being a playoff team in the east but in order for them to take it to the level that Bradley was talking bout they need some serious additions to the roster. Unless the Celtics trade up they are unlikely to find the player that will take them to the next level from the draft.

Even if the Celtics acquire one max contract free agent this offseason that may still not be enough. Unless the Celtics get their top targets this offseason they will need to make improvement all over the court.

The Celtics need a go to scorer on the starting unit and they need a dominate defensive force in the paint. If the Celtics manage to sign both Kevin Love and Marc Gasol then sure, they will have a great chance at making the finals. Unfortunately, the Celtics may not even get one player as good as those two and they will still need time to develop their young talent.

The free agent additions will only be enough to propel the Celtics to the championship if their younger talent has more time to develop. Marcus Smart was great in his first season but he is no where near good enough offensively to carry and run the offense. Smart shot the ball at a rate of just 36.7% and had only 3.1 assists per game.He already has a phenomenal defensive impact but he needs to be consistently reliable on the offensive end before the Celtics join the elite in the east.

The same goes for many other positions. If the Celtics don’t acquire a max contract center then they will also have to wait for Tyler Zeller to develop. Zeller is in the opposite situation as Smart. He was phenomenal offensively, shooting the ball around 55%, but could not get it done defensively. If Zeller is given time to develop physically he will be in a much better position to properly defend and rebound the ball.

Apr 1, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) lays the ball in the basket during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are still too young to simply add a top free agent in order to become immediate contenders. The good news is that the Celtics should be able to make the playoffs next year and all the young guns will have another season under their belt come playoff time.

Once they’re in the postseason, if the Celtics get the development they desire from their young players and have added a max contract free agent, then Bradley may be right… Why not us?. Stevens should be able to get the chemistry he needs in just one season considering what he did in less than half a season with Thomas this year but that will not be enough without the talent and development.

The Celtics are at a very interesting state currently as they are young and rebuilding but at the same time they are a playoff team A lot of things will have to go in their favour but the Celtics can be the most improved team in the league next season and with how weak the eastern conference is they will have an opportunity to surprise a lot of people once again.

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