Where Legacy Ends and Myth Begins

The media, the Celtics and their fans can’t stop wondering why they aren’t the Warriors. Here are 4 more reasons.

Lon Shapiro
Feb 12, 2019 · 12 min read
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Kyrie Irving, throwing his teammates under the bus — AP

There have been two conflicting narratives this season about the Boston Celtics that keep crashing into each other:

The teams on the move are Philadelphia, Toronto and Milwaukee. Even if the Eastern champion won’t beat the Warriors, this might be the most interesting postseason since the Magic upset the 66-win Cavs and the 62-win Celtics on their way to the 2009 Finals.

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Coming up short in game 7 at TD Gardens

MYTH #1: Tatum is a transcendent, transformational player

First, let’s define the term transformational as it applies to an NBA player.

Now, let’s look at what transformational players of the past accomplished in their rookie season:

Boston won 53 games and got to the ECF the year before they drafted Tatum. They won 55 games and got to the ECF his rookie year. That’s only 2 extra wins.

Philadelphia jumped from 52 wins and a first round loss in the playoffs to 58 wins and the Eastern Conference Finals, after adding Charles Barkley. That’s 6 extra wins.

Tatum is a very good young player, but he wasn’t even the best rookie of his class, finishing behind Simmons and Mitchell in ROY voting.

MYTH #2: Boston finally put it together — just look at their record

Quoting statistics about win records and point differentials is one of the arguments used by the media to support the illusion that Boston is an elite team. But look at the level of competition in the East.

Here’s a little reality check that should help reduce the unrealistic expectations that the Celtics are going to challenge the Warriors: Boston is 10–11 against the Western Conference. They have a 2–8 record against the current Western Conference playoff teams, and should have been swept by the Phoenix Suns.

MYTH #3: Incredible comebacks prove that Boston is special

Over the course of 108 games during the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 seasons, the Warriors went 18–13 in games they trailed by at least 10 points.

Where do the Celtics stand in this spectrum?

To see if a team is really great, we look for patterns of play that are sustainable.

MYTH #4: Brad Stevens is such a great coach he will figure it out and lead the Celtics to multiple championships

The problem for Stevens is that there is a huge difference in skill sets between a coach who can develop young players, while getting them to bond as underdogs, and a coach who can master the intracacies of navigating superstars’ egos to get them to perform at the highest level.

Can Brad Stevens get everyone to understand and accept their role, and then work together as a team to contend for a title?

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Lon Shapiro

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

THE WORD IS NOT ENOUGH

Welcome to the land of Curgatory: Music, Art, Humor, Sports, James Bond puns and all the stuff you want to read but will never find in the featured section of your feed.

Lon Shapiro

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

THE WORD IS NOT ENOUGH

Welcome to the land of Curgatory: Music, Art, Humor, Sports, James Bond puns and all the stuff you want to read but will never find in the featured section of your feed.

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