The Boston Celtics are one of the best teams in the NBA right now and that won’t change for a long time. The C’s have a young core that assures they will remain as one of the best squads in the association for quite some time. Led by Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart, the Celtics are ready to compete for everything in the league, but the path to be where they are was anything but easy.
They haven’t had a bad record in the past five seasons, but this is the first one when the Celtics have a big shot to win the NBA title. It remains to be seen if the NBA resumes the season at some point this year, but today, we’re going to take a look at the evolution of the Celtics in the past five seasons.
It wasn’t an easy journey, but they managed to assemble a very good team to compete in the East. These are the Celtics starting lineups in the past five seasons.
2015/16 Starting Lineup: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger
The 2015/16 NBA season was the second one for Brad Stevens as the Celtics head coach. They improved their level, finishing 5th in the Eastern Conference with a 48-34 record, a lot better than the 40-42 they registered the prior season.
Isaiah Thomas was called to the All-Star game for the first time in his career, as he started demonstrating the things they could do for this team. Boston would qualify for the playoffs, but they couldn’t get past the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, losing the series by a final result of 4-2.
2016/17 Starting Lineup: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Al Horford
The 2016/17 season saw the Celtics take their game to the next level, with Isaiah Thomas becoming one of the best players in the league that season, carrying the Celtics and doing impressive stuff on the court that earned him a second straight call to the All-Star game. Thomas was even considered an MVP candidate during that season, but Russell Westbrook won that honor in the end.
That campaign they posted a 53-29 record, earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They did a good job in the playoffs, beating the Chicago Bulls in the First Round in six games before they defeated the Washington Wizards in seven games in the Semifinals. Unfortunately, they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the ECF, which meant the end of the Isaiah Thomas era in Boston.
2017/18 Starting Lineup: Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, Al Horford
After they drafted Jaylen Brown in the 2016/17 season, the following year the Celtics would get one of the most exciting prospects in basketball in Jayson Tatum. They made a couple of interesting moves during that offseason, trading for Kyrie Irving, signing Gordon Hayward in free agency and getting Tatum, the player of the future for the team.
That season they lost Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to season-ending injuries, which raised a big question mark about this team and their potential. Hayward went down in the very first game of the season, while Kyrie played 60 games with the team, suffering an injury during the final stretch of the regular season. The young Celtics still did a very good job, advancing through the ECF, losing the series in a win or go home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2018/19 Starting Lineup: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Al Horford
Last season was a complete disaster for the Celtics. Despite qualifying to the playoffs for the 5th straight season, the C’s lived a complete nightmare with several controversies about their players and their chemistry. Kyrie Irving starred one of the weirdest moments in the league where he claimed he was going to re-sign with the Celtics only to join the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.
They posted a 49-33 record that gave them the 5th seed in the East. Boston would go to sweep the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, their first first-round sweep since 2011. Everything looked fine for them after they dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Semifinals before they lost the next four games. A lot was said after that, with players pointing at each other for the team’s failure. Following that season, things changed for the 17x NBA champions.
2019/20 Starting Lineup: Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis
After the disaster they lived last season, the Celtics entered this campaign with new expectations, hoping to have a good performance and finally get past the Conference Finals and go to the finals for the first time since 2010. While Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart took the reins of the team, sharing touches with All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, the Celtics got things back on track, signing their names as one of the biggest favorites in the East.
Boasting a 43-21 record before the NBA suspended the season last month, they ranked 3rd in the East, only behind the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. Tatum was rapidly becoming one of the best players in the league and the Celtics were improving their level, making big games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks.
This thing was expected to do big things in the playoffs. Now we have to wait and see if they’re able to show their talents and advance in the Eastern Conference, going through the Bucks and Raptors.