Boston is the most decorated NBA team in history, always expected to deliver good results and new championships. The modern Boston Celtics team was built over several years through drafts and finally developed young players into contenders. At a certain point in the previous season, the Celtics were even the top favorites, according to bookmakers. Detailed information about a company that accepts NBA bets with good odds is available on the mostbetuz.net website.
Boston lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 finals and lost to the Miami Heat in the 2023 conference finals (in an epic fashion - losing 0:3, coming back to 3:3, but losing the seventh game), and in both cases, the team did not look like the favorite based on their performance. Somewhere they lacked experience, somewhere they lacked a leader who could take over in the closing moments, and somewhere they lacked coaching.
How did they fix it? Let's look at the Celtics' main actions this offseason.
They kept Joe Mazzulla as the head coach
This is a logical and right decision because changing the coach for the third consecutive year is not the best idea (especially considering that an experienced specialist who could solve all the team's problems would not replace Mazzulla).
The question, however, is whether Mazzulla is a coach for a "championship team" at this stage of his career. The Boston Celtics entered the NBA Finals with Ime Udoka, for whom it was his first job as a full-fledged head coach. Udoka was fired due to poor relationships with club staff, and Mazzulla took his place, making the Celtics his first team as a head coach as well.
It seems that this team of Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart could make it to the playoffs and compete in the early rounds even without a coach. However, in later and more crucial stages where coaching is crucial, the Celtics often lacked it. To understand this, let's remember the series against the Miami Heat, in which Mazzulla only started taking timeouts actively and closing the opponent's gaps from the fourth game onwards.
Traded Marcus Smart to sign Kristaps Porzingis
In a vacuum, this might be a decent deal, but in Boston, Marcus Smart was the leader in the locker room that the team needed. He defended his teammates during games, did all the dirty work, and could "lock down" even star players and bring them down to earth when things weren't going well.
Furthermore, Smart was indeed an elite defender (at least the best defensive player last season), allowing other basketball players on the court to play more freely on the offensive end and focus on attacking. Instead, they acquired Kristaps Porzingis - with a larger contract and a greater emphasis on offense, which will require figuring out how to fit him into a scheme where both Tatum and Brown want the ball and take shots in every attack. Moreover, the Latvian is often injured, having suffered another injury in his career right before the start of the World Championship.
In critical moments, of which there are several in an NBA season, the absence of Smart can play a very bad joke on the Celtics.
Gave Brown the largest deal in NBA history (worth 304 million dollars)
The main news of the summer for Boston as a whole is the extension of the deal with Jaylen Brown, formally the team's second star, who now has the first contract in the club (and in NBA history). 304 million dollars for 5 years is insane money, for which a person should play at an MVP level in every game.
Can Jaylen Brown play at such a level? Overall, yes. He's a good sniper, not limited to just one action on the basketball court, and if the team's game is built around him, he can indeed demonstrate elite basketball and elite statistics (we're not talking about leadership qualities and decision-making ability in critical situations, after all, an MVP of the regular NBA is a little different). Will Boston abandon the idea that Jason Tatum is the team's first star and try to change the team to make Jaylen Brown the first star? This raises significant doubts.
But the most epic moment in the history of Brown's contract is that he was handed out to him after he nearly single-handedly destroyed Boston in the seventh game of the series against Miami (one step away from the NBA Finals for the second year in a row). Brown did it all - scored the most points in the team, but committed eight turnovers (more than anyone in seventh games of playoff series), fouled five times, and finished the game with a "-17" in the "+/-" column.
The fact of this contract (which will only take effect next summer), especially after such a playoff ending, will create significant pressure on Brown. It's not a guarantee that he can handle it, no matter how much Jason Tatum or other Boston players try to support him and reassure him that everything's okay.