The saying is, "Superstars win in this league", and honestly I think that is proving to be true nowadays.
The Cavaliers have Lebron. Warriors have Curry and Durant. Rockets have Harden. Spurs have Leonard. Those teams (including Spurs if Leonard is healthy) are understandably the teams with highest odds to win it all.
Meanwhile, Toronto is a fantastic team and DeRozan has had a fantastic year, BUT no one really considers them a true Finals threat, because DeRozan is a star but not considered a superstar.
Now that's not at all to say that teams can't win the Finals if they don't have a superstar, but the odds are definitely low, and the relative trend shows that having superstar(s) win you rings in this league (especially since 2000).
And also, I'm NOT ripping the Celtics here, as I know we are missing Hayward and have a ton of rookies and relatively new faces. But that reality is why we are struggling a bit more now and aren't considered true Finals threats at the moment. We could make ECF at best maybe according to most.
But that's also why I say, "Yet". Tatum and Brown are young and upcoming studs. Kyrie could improve and become more consistent while turning into a superstar. And who knows, maybe Hayward comes back and plays like a superstar in this system with CBS.
So patience guys! This is a young and growing team, suffering with key injuries as well, and they are still 40-19 despite having some obvious flaws. The rough stretch was honestly expected but I think this ASB will do us real well (guys simply lacked effort/hustle which looked evident from fatigue and the Smart injury).
We are definitely capable of winning Banner 18 with most of this core, and I think that could be a reality sometime in the next 1-3 years. Hopefully someone (or multiple players) grow into superstar-caliber players that can legitimately carry us going forward.
We play excellent team ball but superstars help set us apart from other elite teams, and can sometimes prove to be the difference between a team that makes a conference finals, and one that goes on to win the entire thing.