How ‘Bout Those Celtics! : A Playoff Guide For Bandwagon Fans

As far as I’m concerned, this upcoming weekend is the best sports weekend of the year.

Not only do the NHL playoffs continue but the NBA playoffs start. I have a very specific plan to plop down hard on a couch and consume countless beers and eight games featuring all the NBA teams that aren’t total trash.

This year is extra special, because for the first time since 2008 the Boston Celtics hold the 1 seed, giving them home court advantage for all of their Eastern Conference playoff series. Not only that, this years team is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. So if there was ever a time to bandwagon, it’s now. Especially since if you wait until next year to buy a jersey, you’ll be buying a GE advertisement.

Some fans hate bandwagoners, but I couldn’t disagree more. Rooting for a team that wins is fun. Sure it sucks when bandwagon fans act like they have been around the whole time, but that’s not hating bandwagoners, that’s hating liars. Furthermore, over the last few weeks a sizable number of NBA fans have been rooting for their team to tank for the draft. I will take bandwagon positivity over diehard negativity any day of the week. But still, it’s never good to seem like you don’t know what you’re talking about, so here’s a fun little guide to not sounding like an idiot around your fellow fans while you jump on the bandwagon.

Who are the Celtics?

The Celtics are the most decorated franchise in the NBA with 17 championships won. Most of those wins involved Bill Russell as a player or coach which is why he has a statue at Government Center. The name is pronounced with a soft c because that’s the correct goddamn way to pronounce that word.

Who’s running this team?

Well on the court we have Coach Brad Stevens. Babyface Brad as I like to call him. But do not let the fact that he looks like a kid wearing his dad’s suit fool you, because he is in fact very good at his job, and NBA nerds particularly like how well he draws up inbound plays. Back when he was in the NCAA he took a mostly obscure college and got them into consecutive final fours, before deciding not to be one of those overrated coaches that stays in the NCAA their whole career. Since arriving with the Celtics, each consecutive coaching year has ended with a better record than the previous one.

On the GM side we have Danny Ainge, a former Celtic player himself now most well known for his ability to execute trades. Except when it comes to this year when the Celtics were the team with the most future assets but failed to make a move to make the team better. If this playoff run goes sour, it’s most assuredly going to be his fault, but at least we still have all of the Nets picks for the rest of forever.

But what about the players?

Of course! The most important part of fitting in while bandwagoning is knowing who the players are. Here’s a rundown of some of the more important Celtic fellas:

Isaiah Thomas, PG: The best player on the Celtics and a longshot MVP candidate. One of the more disappointing parts of playoffs being on TNT and ABC is that we won’t get Celtics announcer Tommy Heinsohn yelling “The Little Guy!” every time Isaiah makes a move. Isaiah is listed 5"9' but most definitely shorter than that. He will dazzle you with his offensive prowess and his unreal 4th quarter stats, but also will make you feel like shit for thinking you were too short to play basketball. You could’ve tried harder.

Al Horford, C: New to the team this year, Al is supposed to make up for the size that Isaiah lacks and therefore makes him a liability on defense. Has this worked? Sort of. Horford is not the player he was in his prime Hawks years, but has still done a solid job and leads this rebound-deficient team in rebounds.

Avery Bradley, SG: Avery has spent a large part of this year battling injuries, but when he is on, oh boy is he on. He’s also probably the best non-Isaiah scoring option on the team and can guard some of the best shooters in the game, so we REALLY have to hope that he is on for these playoffs.

Jae Crowder, SF: A testament to the idea that maybe Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing, Jae Crowder was supposed to be an afterthought when he was acquired in a 2014 trade, but has turned into a solid “3 and D” player and legit starter. Also, some fans will try to to tell you that hunky Swede Jonas Jerebko is the handsomest Celtic, but that title actually belongs to Jae. Debate over.

Marcus Smart, PG: There’s nothing particularly pretty about how Marcus Smart plays, but it is effective. He picks up a lot of charges and when a play totally breaks down, you can always watch him scramble to keep it from becoming disastrous. Also, take a moment to enjoy how much fun his name is to say in a Boston accent. For that reason alone I can’t imagine him playing for another team.

Jaylen Brown, SF: A rookie who is coming into his own. Down the stretch he has certainly been my favorite player to watch. Here’s to hoping he does something great in the postseason. With his flat-top hairstyle and above-the-knee style of wearing his shorts, he has a throwback aura that could make him a phenomenon.

Kelly Olynyk, C: Not particularly good. A big man, but is somehow so bad at boxing out one time he dislocated Kevin Love’s shoulder trying to do it. To his his credit he has put in an effort to improve his game year over year, especially when it comes to making 3s. Still, there is a certain group of Boston fans who give him more attention than he deserves. I’ll give you one guess as to why.

Terry Rozier, SG: I have no idea if Rozier is good or not. Sometimes he looks good, sometimes he doesn’t. You can decide whatever you want is your opinion on Rozier and people will probably believe that it’s a real opinion, because they also don’t know how they feel about Terry Rozier.

There are some other guys too, but that’s enough for now.

So who do they play?

In the first round the Celtics play the Bulls. If you’ve only barely watched basketball in the last decade you might think that playing a team with Dwyane Wade and Rondo is scary, but I assure the Bulls are not that good. They stumbled into the playoffs.

After that it gets interesting. We will play the winner of the Wizards/Hawks match up. Hopefully it is the Wizards who win, because one round of Dwight Howard is plenty. The Wizards and Celtics have had a grudge against each other all year, which will make that a must-watch series. It wouldn’t be surprising if that series went 7 games, but I think the Celtics are still better.

Do the Celtics have a shot at the Finals?

Excluding a tragic injury to LeBron, it seems unlikely. While we may have the #1 seed, LeBron James has led his teams to 6 straight finals appearances, most of which were done with the 2 seed. That doesn’t mean it’s all for nothing, cheer your heart out anyway. As far as I’m concerned the 2012 Celtics-Heat ECF was the best playoff series I’ve ever watched and that isn’t ruined by the fact that the Celtics came up short. As long as they keep things close, who knows what might happen?

Is everyone gonna go out there and have fun?

Of course!

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