Being in basketball limbo isn't any fun. I can't imagine following a team for such a long season just to get to see them get bounced in early in the playoffs year after year.
I mean I guess we need to define "year after year."
We've watched the Celtics get bounced in the playoffs for the last 5 years. A couple times they made the ECF but they were never really anywhere close to competing for a title.
How is that different?
For me it's about (a) Do I enjoy watching the team play and (b) Do I feel like there's a sense of progression / possibility of improving.
With this group we have now, the answer is No and No.
Let's say Kyrie leaves, they don't trade for AD, and the team refocuses around Jayson and Jaylen.
If after 2-3 years it's clear neither of those guys is ever going to be a superstar and the team hasn't been able to find a way to add more talented pieces to complement them, then I say sure. Let's go ahead and blow it up.
But there's no way to say for sure right now how good Tatum and Brown can be. I do know what the ceiling of a team led by Kyrie is likely to be. I think we're seeing it right now.
The ceiling of a team with AD is probably a lot higher, but we actually don't have any proof of that. AD has never led his team past the second round. He misses a lot of games every year. He has shown very little in the way of leadership ability. Indeed, the whole fiasco in New Orleans this year makes me seriously question his character and judgment. And if the Celts trade everything for him, he may only stick around for one year.
Certainly not what I want as a sports fan.
My number one thing is if I'm going to be following a team day after day, week after week, month after month, as I am basically bound to do with the Celtics, I want to enjoy doing so. I want to enjoy the players on the team and I want to enjoy watching them play, especially.
This team has not been enjoyable to follow, at all.
And if they become a more talented version of the same thing next year, even if they have a theoretically greater chance of competing for a title, I wont' enjoy them one bit more than I have this year.
Conversely, I DEFINITELY enjoyed following this team more in the last few years when they were objectively less talented and had even less of a chance at going far but they were MUCH more enjoyable and likable on a nightly basis.
Watching Isaiah Thomas lead the Celts to a victory over the Wizards in the second round a couple years ago with a bum hip, for example, stands out in my memory as a really great moment in my time as a Celtics fan even though the team went on to get trounced by the Cavs in the following series.
Sure a title would mean a lot more, but the vast majority of seasons will not end in a title. So I'm going to keep being the advocate for the importance of having a team that allows us to enjoy the journey.
After all, the journey to the next Celtics title might be 2 years or it might be 20. We just don't know. That's true irrespective of what strategy management takes for building the roster moving forward.