Despite the disappointment of losing a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is real optimism around the future of the Boston Celtics.
Taking LeBron James and the Cavs all the way in a gruelling series without the services of All-Star duo Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward shows just how much talent they have on the roster.
They have one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA and they truly came of age in the playoffs as the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier stepped up in a huge way.
Irving admitted it "sucked" to be sidelined for the postseason but was happy that his young teammates were able to "show how special they were on a bigger stage."
"When they were afforded the opportunity to take the reins of the team, you saw them take full advantage of it," he said, per The Boston Herald.
The 26-year-old missed the playoffs after undergoing knee surgery towards the end of the regular season.
He was the team's leading scorer, averaging 24.4 points per game and the Celtics needed their inexperienced youngsters to take on more offensive responsibility in his absence.
There was also huge pressure on Rozier to fill in for Kyrie as the starting point guard and he did a terrific job as he enjoyed a breakout postseason.
Irving said his backup proved he's an NBA starter but that now "turns into an unbelievable dynamic" for Boston next season.
He also raved about Tatum and Brown and the grit and effort of Marcus Smart. The five-time All-Star has extremely high hopes for the Celtics and he couldn't hide his excitement at Hayward's expected comeback too.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers star believes they now have a squad capable of winning a championship.
"I’m excited. What makes it even more exciting and the challenge is now we have championship pedigree," he said.
"They have experience, our young guys that sometimes other young guys in the league aren’t necessarily afforded. They gained a lot of experience, and now it can only help us going forward.”
Even if LeBron chooses to remain in the east next season, the C's will be a major threat to win the conference and make it to the Finals.
With one of the best coaches in the league in Brad Stevens, there's no doubt that the franchise is destined to contend for years to come.
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