Since Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers joined forces, the Celtics have been a model of relevancy and an opponent other teams hate playing against. Through injuries, defections and poor draft choices, they have always been loathed and feared in the NBA. Loathed because of the players and fans perceived arrogance about Boston's 17 championships. Feared because of the coach, the legacy, and those very same banners.
Well, just like the Talking Heads say in their song, "Once in a Lifetime", "same as it ever was." The Celtics will always hold that special place in other fans' and teams' hearts.
This is the first time since the 2008 championship that Boston has had a productive bench. Before this season, Celtic fans were wistfully thinking about Leon Powe, Glen Davis and P.J. Brown roaming the parquet.
Powe and Davis brought the youthful inexperience. The veteran, Brown, alongside sniper Eddie House and James Posey, brought the moxie. The rest of the bench was just fodder for the roster and the ensuing years have not made the bench anymore memorable.
Boston seemed to pick up veterans who were hoping to get a championship just by putting on a Celtic jersey. When they saw that they actually had to work for the right to wear the name on the front of the the jersey, many of them balked.
Also, last years' bench spent more time with the trainer than on the court; a circumstance that caused the team to run on fumes throughout the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
If it wasn't for Doc, the 'Big Three' and Rondo, Danny Ainge would have been ran out of town a long time ago.
Who on Boston's bench will be the key to Banner 18?
Celtic management did do a remarkable job in a year where others thought they were doomed once the Miami Heat signed Ray Allen, the top free-agent shooting guard and former Celtic. They had little cap-flexibility and the perception (and not the reality) about the Boston area made it a less than desirable destination. A fact made very clear with O.J. Mayo choosing to sign with the Dallas Mavericks and not with the Boston Celtics.
There is a renewed buzz on Causeway Street now that Celtic Nation has begun the healing process from 'The Betrayal' that they felt during the off-season. The additions of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, their 2012 draft picks, and a healthy Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox bring promise and hope.
Doc Rivers now has the kind of team he has always wanted since he started coaching. You don't want to go small against Boston. It would be a match-up nightmare with KG at center, Paul Pierce as the four, Jeff Green the three, Jason Terry shooting and Rondo picking defenses apart. There are so many ways they can go with the flexibility they have on paper.
"Trader" Danny didn't have to go to the free agency bin equivalency of Filene's Basement to construct a potent second unit. This time, they all came because they wanted to earn the right to say "I am a Celtic".