In reality, the Boston Celtics really did not have much of a chance to beat Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even with a healthy Isaiah Thomas (ruled out for the playoffs w/ hip injury), Boston is not talented enough to dethrone King James and the Cavaliers. However, no matter what happens the rest of the way against Cleveland, this season has been a success for the Celtics. First, you have found a star in Isaiah Thomas. Next, you had the best record in the Eastern Conference, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Finally, you have the number one overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and with the way things are going in Brooklyn, you might get another lottery pick in 2018.
While Isaiah Thomas has proven to be a star, the C’s need more. Can you win a championship when your best player is 5’9? It is very difficult to build around a player that small. Ultimately, Thomas broke down when the Celtics needed him the most. Now, Boston has to figure out how to get to the next level. Do you stand pat at one and take Markelle Fultz, or do you trade the pick, and try to put together a package to get Jimmy Butler or Paul George? Butler or George brings you closer to Cleveland. If you have an opportunity get George or Butler, you have to give it some serious thought. On the other hand, maybe you keep the pick and try to get soon to be free agent Gordon Hayward this summer. Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens obviously have that Butler connection. Maybe that connection could be enough to bring Hayward to Boston. According to The Vertical, Boston is expected to go hard after the 27-year-old Hayward in free agency. Obviously, bringing in Hayward and Fultz brings the Celtics much closer to Cleveland as well.
Anytime you have the best record in the Eastern Conference, advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and have the number one overall pick in the draft, your season is a success. Nevertheless, sometimes that next step is the hardest step.