The Boston Celtics are morphing into formidable threats in the Eastern Conference despite their young core. Facing off against experienced teams like the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Marcus Smart squad managed to claw their way up in the division. With the recent blowout victory over the Al Harford squad, the Boston Celtics are gradually gaining the respect and confidence they badly wanted from the NBA community.
The Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks series saw a shocking result when the Isaiah Thomas team delivered a devastating 95-104 victory over the Jeff Teague squad. This brings the Jared Sullinger squad to a 2-2 record in the NBA playoffs series against the Atlanta Hawks. While the Boston Celtics celebrate their astounding win, some fans feel that their recent performance will not be enough to bring them head to head against the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Moreover, the team's core is expected to be too fragile to face off against the Golden State Warriors with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in the NBA finals. In fact, the Boston Celtics are not expected to be even a match to the San Antonio Spurs of Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Danny Green.
So, what does this mean for the Boston Celtics? Rumors are rife that the NBA team may be eyeing veteran additions in the roster. With the pending free agency of Kevin Durant, the Jae Crowder may be expected to compete with the other interested squads like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. Both Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks may be possible veteran targets for the team. Even Rajon Rondo might be a potential star to return to the roster. Amid all these, one thing is certain - all the stars will demand a lucrative contract. Hence, the Boston Celtics might need to make some cuts.
Recently, Marcus Smart stunned the NBA community with his talent. His showing against the Atlanta Hawks proved to be a crucial contribution to their team. However, can he sustain this performance? Or should the Boston Celtics sign a better star who can be reliable on and off the hardwood court?
"I'm a basketball player. I don't really define myself as any position. I think that's what's been so unique about me growing up and playing ball," said Smart of his role with the Boston Celtics. He added, "It's kind of hard to define my position, and it's kind of hard to see who you're going to put on me because of my versatility. As crazy as it sounds, yes, I've guarded a 7-footer [Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis] and things like that. And going to guard other bigs, and then covering the guards, it's tough. But I pride myself on defense. This team knows that. My teammates know that. And the coaches know that. And they trust me to do that."
Aside from Smart, Isaiah Thomas has also been the center of scrutiny lately. While the Boston Celtics have not commented on the rumor, speculations are circulating that the young star might be up for grabs come offseason. Given his recent surge in shooting percentages and improved ball handling, Thomas is expected to fetch a high price on the market.
"Teams, players, the NBA - they still don't respect us," said Thomas earlier this NBA season when asked about the reputation of the Boston Celtics. He added, "And we know that. We go into every game with a chip on our shoulder knowing that we've got to earn the respect. We've got to earn what we get and take what's ours, and we feel like every game we've got a chance to win if we play the right brand of basketball."
With their recent win over the Atlanta Hawks, will the Boston Celtics finally get the respect they crave? Or will this only be given once they sign a veteran star who can bring respect to the young team? Should the Boston Celtics release Marcus Smart or Isaiah Thomas? Will the sacrifice be worth it in the long-run?