The 2021-22 NBA season came to a close with the Golden State Warriors being crowned the NBA Champions. Golden State’s run wasn’t a given with many talking heads believing there were too many open questions for the Warriors to seriously challenge. It didn’t help that the Warriors went through a second half slump where they finished the season 14-16 in their last 30 games.
On the other side of the conference, the Boston Celtics finished their last thirty games with league best 24-6 record rolling into the postseason on fire. They swept the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets 4-0, beat the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, and then took down the #1 seed Miami Heat in seven games.
It wasn’t a perfect run, but they had enough fire power led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with a strong rotation that included exceptional play from Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford, Grant Williams and Derrick White.
The two teams met in the Finals and despite stealing the first game from the Warriors and blowing out Golden State in game three, the Warriors will and experience eventually overtook the younger Celtics teams.
So what did the C’s learn from their NBA Finals trip? Do they remain potential title contenders for going into next season?
NBA Finals Performance Left A Lot To Be Desired
There is no denying that the Celtics NBA Finals performance left many unimpressed especially games 4, 5, and 6. Indeed, if you had used a Betway sign up bonus or something similar and looked at the odds of them winning after Game 2, you would certainly have not placed that bet! Indeed, from that point on, betting odds were firmly in GSW’s favor.
There were many problems, including Jayson Tatum’s so-called collapse and offensive struggles, and their lack of a consistent defensive to stop eventual Finals MVP Steph Curry.
Lack of Playmaking
After their incredible shooting performance in Game one, the Celtics looked burnt out and were unable to recreate that same magic. Though Smart was a capable playmaker, the Celtics inability to generate good looks as they got deeper into the series highlighted the need for a playmaker.
The good news? The Celtics got one of the best playmakers on the market — one of the rare players that’s pulled off a rare 50-40-90 season — when they signed Malcolm Brogdon. They traded for the 29-year old point guard without having to give up any of their core rotation players.
Brogdon averaged over 20 points in the last couple seasons and is a very good defensive player. The 6-5 guard is a very good answer for the offensive areas that the Celtics are struggling with and a perfect fit for the defensive identity that propelled the Celtics into the best team in the second half of the season.
Did 2022 Playoffs Give Celtics The Required Experience?
Although their finals performance was not what Boston wanted, there can be positives taken from the season and playoffs. Firstly, the team continues to have an excellent defensive presence, and some may say that no one could have stopped Steph Curry’s brilliance in that Finals series.
Secondly, this relatively young hoops team (except seemingly immortal Al Horford) has now broken their Finals virginity. They know what the atmosphere, tension and excitement feel like. This experience is vital, and the reality is that very few teams triumph in their first-ever Finals experience. Celtics fans hope that the team can grow from this loss and use it to strengthen their resolve for the new season.
The 2022-2023 NBA season looks to be amazing with free agencies and crazy trades looking to completely shake up rosters and bring in a wave of new contenders.
That being said, even though Golden State should be stronger this season, there is no reason why the Boston Celtics cannot make a deep playoff run again and potentially win. Their star players should continue to grow and mature this season, and their experience from the 2021-2022 playoffs and finals should help further boost their mental fortitude and toughness.