For some reason, making the Eastern Conference finals with a shallow bench and a bunch of players injured doesn't mean anything.
I'll admit that I am a Boston Celtics fan, but just because I am doesn't mean that I am delusional. I do not think that the Celtics are the favorite to take home an NBA title, mainly because the Miami Heat and Oklahoma CityThunder are still loaded.
However, I do think that Boston is much better than they are given credit for. The Celtics are among the top five teams in the league, without a doubt. I can back up this claim by simply looking at who the team added and how they played last season.
Last year, the Celtics got the closest to beating the Heat—and by a wide margin. Boston held a 3-2 advantage after Game 5, and the Heat looked dead in the water.
However, LeBron James, being the great player that he is, had an all-time great performance and made Game 6 more of a message to everyone who had been on his back.
Despite what many have said about LeBron not being clutch, I never bought it and I knew that James was due for a great performance in the playoffs. That fateful night effectively ended Boston's chances at beating Miami.
Game 7 was a closely fought matchup, up until the fourth quarter, when the Boston Celtics simply ran out of gas, due in part to their thin bench.
Guess what? Boston's weakness just became a strength. The Celtics now have one of the best benches in the league.
Jason Terry, Courtney Lee (after Avery Bradley heals), Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling give Boston so much depth that they could be able to rest Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for long stretches during the season.
Yet, even with all of this, we go back to the fact that Boston is old or washed up...or whatever detractors call them.
What does it matter that they are old? As long as they stay relatively healthy, being "old" is not necessarily bad. It gives the Celtics playoff experience and two players who can rally the troops before games.
Why don't we call the Lakers old? Aren't they starting a 39-year-old point guard who has had back issues for the latter part of his career?
Utter blasphemy, yet I bet there is a host of other writers with the same convictions. The questions that Boston is too old should be applied to Los Angeles, who has four starters over the age of 32 years of age. Throw in Dwight Howard's faulty back and injury problems, which could ravage this roster.
I'll admit this, I have not been a Boston Celtics fan my entire life. However, what made me a fan of this group is their resilience through adversity.
Just like every single year, the Celtics will be disrespected, and just like every year, Boston will win the Atlantic Division and make a run in the playoffs.
The question is whether they can finish the deal and silence the critics.