With 2020 finally wrapping up, we say goodbye to a whole decade of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics roster has gone through many different changes over the past decade, and lucky for them they have been pretty good for the most part. In this decade we saw the end of the Big Three, the Isaiah Tomas Era, and even the Kyrie Irving experiment. But which year did the Celtics have the best team?
This was the second year of Kyrie Irving,and the year that Kyrie got the reputation as a toxic locker room presence. This team on paper was stacked to the brim with all-star caliber players. They had a starting five of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. Not only that, but they had an amazing bench with Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart. Despite being so stacked on paper, they only made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This was especially disappointing given that they made the Eastern Conference Finals the season before with the nearly the same team, minus Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
While they were disappointing given expectations, they were still a decent team. If you were to catch this team on a good day with everyone clicking you were probably going to lose, but the problem is that they were almost never clicking.
This was one of the last years of the Big Three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen), and they had some decent support. This team was filled with some of my all-time favorite players, like a 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal and a 26-year-old Nate Robinson. Outside of the Big Three, they had good role players like Jason Terry, Avery Bradly, and of course Rajon Rondo. They had many vets and played well together, and they were the No. 1 Seed with 56 wins. However, the only thing that held this team back was getting eliminated in the second round by the stacked Miami Heat.
You might be surprised that this team is so high, despite on paper being worse than the 2018-2019 team. However, this team had an advantage: they were far more cohesive. It was in the playoffs that they really showcased their teamwork. They made it to the conference finals without their two best players Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, which was quite good alone, but for a team that was led by rookie and sophomore players, this was downright impressive. I put this team above the 2018-2019 team mainly because you knew for the most part what you were going to get from them every day. They won five more games and went further into the playoffs than the following year with a healthy Kyrie.
This is a hard team to judge because of how weird this season was. First, it should be noted that there were only 72 games rather than the usual 82 games this year, so their record is a little misleading. Kemba fit onto this team the way they hoped Kyrie would have, and they won more games (percentage-wise) because of it. This is a prime example of chemistry winning games. This team played well, but even more important they were having fun and because of that they won more games and went further into the playoffs.
This was the year Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics and was third for MVP voting. He averaged almost 30 points a game, and the Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. This was the season that struck Isaiah with tragedy when his sister passed, and he suffered a career-altering injury. The reason this team is number one is because of how great Isiah Thomas was in his prime. This team relied on him to win every game, and he thrived with that responsibility. Also, he did something that no Celtics team had done since Pierce, Allen and KG were still together: the Celtics were the number one seed in the East. That’s why I say that this is the best team in the past decad