Boston Celtics: An ode to the 2019-20 regular season

Boston Celtics (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics and the 21 other teams remaining in the NBA bubble have now completed the most unique and challenging regular season in the history of the league.

Unprecedented is a word we have heard mind-numbingly often since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It does best describe what the Boston Celtics, 15 other playoff teams, and six teams that concluded their season yesterday just went through to complete the regular season, though.

Complete isolation from everyone besides your teammates, coaches, and team staff (and eventually immediate family) for the final month and what will be the entire postseason. A near five-month layoff in between regular-season games from the middle of March until that end of July. This season had it all–besides 9-10 extra regularly scheduled games for 22 teams and 17-18 extra regularly scheduled games for the “delete eight” that weren’t invited to Walt Disney World.

For the Boston Celtics, it had a little extra, though. After the 2019 offseason had concluded, an improved outlook in the standings was neither expected nor projected for the 2019-20 C’s. Their roster was weakened by the departures of multiple All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, playoff-hero Terry Rozier, and two solid role players in Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris.

That they were replaced by Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter and a bunch of rookies likely meant that lowered win totals coupled with an improved locker room would replace championship expectations.

Instead, the C’s achieved a higher playoff seed and improved their winning percentage from .597 to .667. Jayson Tatum went from sophomore slump to superstar. Jaylen Brown ascended from the pine to be a 20 point per game scorer. Gordon Hayward finally looked like a man worth over $30 million a year (when he was on the floor at least). Daniel Theis held down the center position in an unexpected and admirable way.

More impressively, the team was able to make a smooth transition from playing in front of the TD Garden faithful to playing all of their games on the same campus that they are living on with their NBA peers. The challenges that were thrown the way of the C’s and all the other players that have endured this bubble have never been handled by any NBA legend that came before.

The Celtics now enter the most critical stage of a season that was once on life support. All of the roster turnover from last offseason, divisive quotes about the locker room last year, and quarantining without NBA basketball is long behind us.

Now, Boston has the chance to win one of the hardest titles the NBA’s timeline has ever witnessed. After everything endured in the past few years, between Hayward’s injury woes, Brown’s benching, Kyrie Irving’s betrayal and all of the fallout from the team’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks next season, the C’s could put a cherry on top of what was a thoroughly enjoyable and objectively successful bounce-back campaign.

This is an ode to the seemingly endless 2019-20 regular season. No matter what happens next, it was a hell of a *checks notes* ten months, and we can only hope the next two are just as memorable for Boston Celtics fans everywhere.

Next. Brad Wanamaker enters C's record books. dark