In the midst of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics find themselves precariously perched on the edge of a steep cliff with the Miami Heat leading the series at 3-0. If the current trend continues, the Celtics, who entered the playoffs as the number two seed, could be facing an offseason filled with uncertainty, fueled by rumors, speculation, and probable upheaval as a result of the astonishing collapse they are experiencing in the playoffs.
Coming into this season, the Celtics were perceived as one of the most complete and united teams in the entire NBA. Yet, their current incarnation bears little resemblance to that image. The on-court performance is characterized by messy, uncoordinated gameplay and a concerning lack of tenacity that is contributing heavily to their impending downfall. Persistent mental errors and inconsistent performances from their star players are hindering the Celtics’ chances of a comeback.
Considering the seeding – the Celtics at number two and the Heat at number seven – one would naturally assume that a sweep is unlikely. Yet, with the current state of affairs, the chances of a sweep in tonight’s game have increased substantially. Boston’s body language throughout the series has been disheartening. They seem to have been browbeaten into submission by the tenacious Jimmy Butler, who has controlled the series for the Heat.
One of the major uncertainties looming over the offseason is the future of Jaylen Brown in Boston. The team management must evaluate whether investing in Brown with a max contract, which he is likely to seek, is the right decision for the franchise. Both Brown and Jayson Tatum have experienced inconsistent performances throughout these playoffs. Tatum, however, has exhibited a slightly steadier performance compared to his counterpart. The young core of the Boston team, once filled with promise, now seems to be drifting away from their championship aspirations with the current team structure.
There is plenty of speculation that the Celtics’ Head Coach Joe Mazzulla might be the immediate casualty of this shocking collapse. However, laying the blame solely at Mazzulla’s door doesn’t seem entirely fair. Despite his role as the head coach making him a part of the issue, he comes across as an easy scapegoat when several All-NBA players have consistently failed to deliver.
The pertinent question is: who will be the Celtics’ next choice for a head coach if they decide to part ways with Mazzulla? From the current crop of available candidates, Nick Nurse appears to be the most promising choice. However, if the Celtics are interested in securing his services, they might need to act swiftly. There are already reports of Nurse meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks about their vacant head coaching position.
As the situation unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current version of the Boston Celtics team is facing a period of instability. They are seemingly on a downward spiral towards the end of their run, teetering on the brink of major changes.