Since LeBron James’ return to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavaliers have dominated the Eastern Conference. It’s been the case with every LeBron-led squad since he left the Cavs for Miami in 2010, as James has seen the Finals in each of the past seven seasons.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, there are a few predicting the end of James’ Finals run, pointing to the Celtics as the team set to supplant them. Boston trading for former Cavs’ star point guard Kyrie Irving and signing Gordon Hayward this summer has the Celtics looking like a serious contender to LeBron’s reign over the East, but there’s a reason James hasn’t missed the Finals for seven years.
Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland in the Irving trade, is finding out why that’s the case firsthand. The Celtics, by all accounts, are a fine organization with Brad Stevens building a strong culture to make Boston a true contender. However, there’s a difference in that and the culture of a team that’s won a title and knows what’s required of every player in a championship season.