The 9 most disappointing Celtics players since 2008

Boston Celtics (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Celtics haven’t won an NBA championship in (checks watch) fifteen entire years.

That’s longer than the life expectancy of an otter. There are otters that will be born and live a long and fruitful existence, but ultimately die sad and unfulfilled, since the Celtics failed to win a championship in their lifetime

So, for the sake of the otters, let’s unpack why that is.

I count six distinct eras of Celtics basketball since the 2008 championship. Here’s the breakdown:

1. The Lame Duck Administration (2009-2012)

Post-championship efforts were hollow. Save for 2010’s inspired run that hit a Kobe Bryant-shaped wall, the Miami Heat and LeBron James choked out the championship-era Celtics, and a rebuild was in order.

2. The “Rebuild” (2013-2015)

It’s weird to define this as a rebuild because the Cs have only missed the playoffs and failed to win 40 games once since 2006. But 2013-2014 was a sight to behold, with a 25-win campaign captained by uncle Jeff Green signaling the beginning of a new era.

3. The Isaiah Thomas Renaissance (2015-2017)

My second favorite of the six, as I.T. and Co. were a wrecking ball that made LeBron’s Eastern Conference think twice before getting comfortable. Until they didn’t.

4. The Kyrie Irving Pipe Dream (2017-2019) 

By far my least favorite of the six. Irving was electric at times but decided that Boston was the place to officially enter the Unreliable Hall of Fame. I—along with half of the city—would have driven Kyrie to the airport myself if he needed a ride.

5. The Kemba Core (2019-2021)

The Celtics wasted no time in replacing Irving, signing Kemba Walker to a four-year max deal to continue the team’s format with a slightly less explosive point guard. It was fun but ultimately petered out quietly.

6. The J’s Take the Reins (2021-present)

When it became clear that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the future of the franchise, replacing Irving or Walker felt a lot less urgent. How this will play out remains to be seen, but for now, it’s been my favorite of the bunch.

However I feel now or felt at the time, each era shares the same characteristic: failure to close the deal. There’s a lot of disappointment baked into the last decade and a half, so I’m going to pick which players exemplified that disappointment best—and assign their era accordingly—ranked from nine to one.

And just for kicks, I’ll assign an arbitrary Disappointment Score (1-10, where 10 is the most disappointing) to each player, so we can see which era was truly the most mathematically disappointing. I’m sure this will make total sense.

Here are the 9 most disappointing Celtics players since 2008