As I sit here and miss the 2008 and 2010 Boston Celtics, marvel at the San Antonio Spurs, and look at draft/trade possibilities, the biggest thing I notice with these star teams are amazing passing and unrivaled teamwork.
What made the 2008 champion Celtics such a dangerous team? They all worked together, sacrificing individual stats, to all give 100% of what they had, to try to win every single game.
It showed on the court in their defense, of course, and their passing. Every time I watch old clips of games from that team, I can't help but notice how flawlessly they passed and how they always seemed to know exactly what each other was going to do.
Coming back into the present, watching the Spurs decimate the Miami Heat in every way possible in the NBA Finals, I noticed the same thing. The Spurs are a fantastic passing team, and just as the Celtics did, they all sacrificed individual statistics by having everyone on the team involved, to win a championship. Sometimes, they would pass the ball so quickly that if you blink, you would miss about 2-3 passes.
I think the 2014 future Celtics already have a solid foundation for success. The first part that is important to building a champion is a head coach that is under control and that players trust. Look at Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. Both guys are amazing coaches that the players hang onto their every word, no matter how many times they have heard it. The word the 2008 Celtics used: Ubuntu. It is a universal bond that revolves around trust and compassion. That team trusted each other and their coach. The 2014 Spurs trusted each other and their coach as well.
So in terms of this coming year's version, head coach Brad Stevens is on the right track. He sets an example of accountability and not getting too high or too low. Players seem to trust and listen to him and he doesn't make excuses. In my opinion, this is an important first step for Boston.
The second key to building a championship team is to have the players buy into this teamwork and passing idea. If Rajon Rondo does not get traded, that is important because he already has this. Rondo is always looking to pass to the open teammate and buys into teamwork (I mean, he was on that 2008 squad, of course).
If the Celtics trade for Kevin Love, I think that would be important because Love has been receiving passes for three years from a very impressive passer in Ricky Rubio. He sees how valuable a great passer is to a successful team. The T'Wolves were average with Love and Rubio, but they clearly needed more pieces to their puzzle.
If Boston uses their draft picks instead of a trade, I think they should really be looking at who is a team player and a guy who they can see will sacrifice for the betterment of the team. I truly think this is vital for a successful team.
To complete the puzzle if they do keep Rondo and get Love or a solid draft pick, I think they still will need one more piece. Another veteran presence willing to meld into a great team and not worry about his stats. I think, for this reason, Carmelo Anthony would be a bad decision for Boston because I don't have confidence that he could put his stats in his back pocket at the current moment.
I anticipate Boston will make the right moves, but I want everyone to be thinking about how certain players will fit into the bigger framework of a selfless team oriented squad. It could get real exciting and fun if this happens. Just think about the 2008 Celtics and the 2014 Spurs.
I can't wait to see what happens!
Comments are encouraged. I'd love to see what people think!