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Exclusive: Anonymous ‘08 Boston Celtics Player Says Today’s Team Would Beat Them

BOSTON - JUNE 17: (L-R) Ray Allen #20, Kevin Garnett #5, and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics poses for a portrait with the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics won 131-92. NOTE TO USER:User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown)
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images | Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

In an interview with Sideline Sources’ Wenzell Ortiz, an anonymous member of the 2008 championship Celtics team compared his team to the modern iteration of the squad. The player detailed who would win in a seven-game series, as well as the similarities and differences between the two powerhouses.

Interview with an anonymous player from the ‘08 Boston Celtics

BOSTON - JUNE 8: Kevin Garnett #5, Kendrick Perkins #43, Paul Pierce #34, Rajon Rondo #9, and Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics walks off the bench against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 8, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER:User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

With success inevitably comes comparison. The contemporary Celtics group currently has the best record in the NBA, sitting at 31-12. Led by the touted tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the reigning Eastern Conference champions look poised for another deep playoff run. 

Despite head coaching turnover heading into the season, Boston has the best net rating (6.2), second-best offensive rating (117.2), and seventh-best defensive rating (111.0) in the association. They have been able to assuage the anticipated turmoil from fans and pundits alike.

Similarly, in 2008, the Celtics were fraught with trepidation heading into their season. Although, there was a mix of all-time high expectations because of the additions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Nonetheless, skeptics had their doubts. They surmised that egos would clash, that the offense would devolve into stagnancy, and their drastic roster turnover would lead to a lackluster bench.

Lo and behold, these concerns dissipated quickly. The ‘08 Celtics would go on to win a league-best 66 games en route to a championship. 

Naturally, any discourse regarding a comparison between the two Boston teams is ostensibly premature. Mostly due to the modern iteration lacking a ring. However, supporters of this comparison augment their argument by collating the players. They will highlight how Tatum is leading the way offensively like Pierce, Brown acting as a two-way player like Allen, and Smart anchoring the defense as Garnett did.

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 16: Al Horford #42, Derrick White #9 and Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics look on during Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 16, 2022 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

When asked about what he thinks of the comparisons, the unnamed player said he doesn’t think “they are similar but do feel that both teams are great defensively.” Interestingly, he asserts that the 2023 Boston team is more like the 90s Bulls.

“I don’t think they are similar [to us] but do feel that both teams are great defensively,” a player from the ‘08 Celtics told Sideline Sources’ Wenzell Ortiz. “I actually think they are built more like the Chicago bulls with MJ playing like Brown, Tatum playing like Pip, Smart is wild like Rodman, and Al is like Ron Harper. They have versatility.”

The former Celtic focuses on the style of play and defense. That is why he parallels Brown with Michael Jordan, as opposed to Tatum.

“More style of play than pecking order. I look more at things defensively than offensively. Brown defends like MJ, Tatum more like Pippen. Hard to compare offense in different eras but you could definitely look at defensive personalities.”

Finally, the NBA champion did not mince words when asked who would in a seven-game series. The game would be played in this era, though.

“They would beat us. Everything evolves.”

Only time will tell whether or not these two iterations of the Celtics genuinely compare. For starters, the modern version will need to hoist the Larry O’Brien. From there, continued team success and scintillating careers of individual players will make the ‘23 Celtics tantamount to ‘08.

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