No one does The Big Three better than the Celtics.
Boston invented TB3 with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. Those three stars were good for three NBA World Championship banners and some of the best basketball ever played in the league.
Almost 20 years later, the Celtics give us a new generation of The Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. That Three took home the 2008 NBA World Champions title.
So how far can this year’s Celtics go with The Medium 3?
What’s The Medium 3? The Celtics have no superstars on this years team. They have a collection of good players who sacrifice their individual goals for the team. They have 3 players who I think are crucial to their success. They are not a Big Three so I am calling them The Medium 3.
They are Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, and Marcus Smart.
Thomas is the scorer of the three. The Celtics need for him to give them scoring. Despite being 5-feet-9-inches tall, Thomas is fearless on the court whether it’s taking the ball to the basket or taking the big shot when they need it. IT also has developed into a very good passer, and shot blocker. The Celtics will go only as far as Isaiah’s offense will take them.
We have seen how much the team misses Crowder since he has been out with a high ankle sprain. But he is expected to be back in the next game or two on their west coast trip. Crowder has developed into a very good, but not great, two-way player. He plays plus defense as we witnessed in the playoffs last year against LeBron James. Crowder has also developed into a consistent offensive player, averaging 14 points a game while shooting 45 percent. For the Celtics to have any success in the postseason, Crowder has to be close to 100 percent healthy.
Then there is Marcus Smart. I know he can’t shoot the basketball very well but his hustle and toughness set the tone for this team. They play with a chip on their shoulder and no one plays with a larger one than Smart. He is their best defensive player and in a league that relies more and more on the three pointer; his perimeter defense will be key in the post season.
So how far can The Medium 3 and the Celtics go in the playoffs? I think they can beat any team in the East in a seven game series other than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As the NBA season winds down, the Celtics can finish anywhere from the third to the sixth seed. Cleveland and Toronto are locked into the first two seeds. Then you have the Atlanta Hawks, Celtics, Miami Heat, and Charlotte Bobcats all separated by one game for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds. So the Celtics will play one of those teams in the first round, a very winnable series for Boston.
The key for the Celtics is getting Toronto in the Eastern Conference semi-finals and not Cleveland. The Celtics were 1-3 against the Raptors this season but Toronto does not scare me. They were very good last season heading into the playoffs and totally self destructed under the pressure in getting swept by the Washington Wizards. This would be a tough series to win as the Raptors have two explosive players in DeMar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry, but this is where the defense of Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder come into play.
From there the playoff ride would come to an end against Lebron and the Cavaliers.
So The Medium 3 will not lead the Celtics to a title this year but they could give us some very exciting moments this spring.
And with a ton of cap space this summer, maybe adding The Big 2 of Kevin Durant and Al Horford to The Medium 3, our expectations will be raised to a championship level at this time next year.