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Nets edged out of playoffs - durability and fit critical in future Celtics moves

 Apparently, 33 All-Star appearances and two MVP awards shared by four members of the Brooklyn Nets wasn't sufficient to prevent their take down by the Milwaukee Bucks in the deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Granted, injuries, particularly the recent ankle mishap suffered by former-Celtic, Kyrie Irving, played a large role in ending the Nets' quest for the 2021 NBA Championship, but fate - good or bad - always comes into play in the post-season.


 I take no pleasure in injuries to opposing players, but I always felt that James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving conspiring to assemble in Brooklyn was overkill. Many analysts had them pegged for this year's Title. Adding Blake Griffin to the mix seemed to sweeten their pot, but in the end, it just didn't work.

Boston just doesn't seem to hold the charm for NBA stars that the warm states and/or bigger markets possess, Miami, Los Angeles and New York quickly coming to mind. Red Auerbach always had to scheme and maneuver to construct his Championship-caliber crews, and Danny Ainge followed his lead.

Which brings us to today. The lesson for the Celtics is that a team does not always equal, or exceed, the sum of its parts, the 2020-21 Boston Celtics being Exhibit A. But this will be a new season and a new era. The focus on any new moves by Brad Stevens and Company should be durability and fit. The acquisition of  Al Horford checks both of those boxes. Ainge openly admits blame in some of his past moves (per CBS Sports' Michael Kaskey-Blomain):

"There are things I could have done better, but I'm not going to mention names. I'll take this responsibility. This is a team that was put together by me, and we're not playing with enough consistency and urgency, and it's my job to look to see what we can do to improve the team."

So Brad Stevens is now at the helm, and Celtics fans await the next move. The core of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Marcus Smart is in place - Rob Williams, Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith should see significant floor time - Evan Fournier may be a keeper - Moses Brown could prove to be a crucial addition - decisions need to be made on Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams - and Romeo Langford remains a wild card. Should be an interesting season.


 

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