After their spectacular showing in the 2022 postseason, the Boston Celtics have left a strong impression that they are heavily favored to finally win it this upcoming season, but owner Wyc Grousbeck has maintained that his ball club became “overrated” since then.
In an interview with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Grousbeck argued that the Celtics aren’t assured yet of a title finish given the hard-fought battles they had last playoffs.
“I really loved being part of the Celtics throughout that run. I loved being right there with them. It was thrilling. The other side of the coin is I think that we’ve now been overrated,” he said. “I think that performance was a bit overrated in the public mind – or my own mind, because I’m the one saying it.
“(We were) a finalist and two wins away from winning it, but when you look back, Brooklyn was a tough series, and then we had to go seven games (against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat). Then we lost (to the Golden State Warriors). So, we’re not a hands-down team to repeat as Eastern Conference champions. I think we’re a quality team.”
After a rough first half of the 2021-2022 season, the Cs have skyrocketed atop the NBA’s ladder while establishing themselves as a championship power.
But they had an arduous road just to reach the Finals stage for the first time since 2010. Though they swept the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, the four-game series is the third-closest series sweep in NBA history with a margin of 18 points (4.5 points per game). They also fought a Khris Middleton-less Milwaukee Bucks team that they dispatched in seven gruelling games. Lastly, they were also pushed to seven games by the injury-battled Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference crown.
Though they were just indeed two wins away from that 18th banner opposing the eventual champ Golden State Warriors, Grousbeck’s assessment speaks volume.
As such, he acknowledges that there are roughly around five or six other contenders with the Celtics moving forward – no reason to be complacent about winning a title in a cake walk manner.
I am [trying to tamp down expectations], but I’m not trying to do that in some manipulative way. It’s how I feel,” Grousbeck told Himmelsbach. “Look, I wouldn’t pick anybody ahead of us. But I don’t think we’ve got any smooth sailing ahead. We were a good team last year that won some key close games and were in the mix. But I don’t have us as the favorites. There are five or six co-favorites, as far as I’m concerned.”
The Cs will open their pursuit of a potential title run this 2022-2023 campaign against fellow East heavyweight Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18.