Last week, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics finally broke through to hoist their first Larry O'Brien trophy in the last 16 seasons with a huge win in Game 5 over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, winning the Finals at home in front of the TD Garden crowd on the 16 year anniversary of doing the same thing in 2008 vs the Los Angeles Lakers. Tatum had far and away his best performance of the series in Game 5 but it wasn't quite enough to win the Finals MVP award, which instead went to Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown, who was much more consistent throughout the series.

It was a long time coming for this Celtics team, which has made the playoffs every year since the 2014-15 season and had been to six Eastern Conference Finals series since 2017 but had yet to raise banner 18 until this season. Of course, one of the most integral members of the Celtics over the last decade has been point guard Marcus Smart, who was drafted in 2013 and was a key member on every deep playoff run the team had until they traded him last summer in order to bring in Kristaps Porzingis.

Now that the Celtics won a championship immediately after moving on from Smart, it's fair to wonder how the now Memphis Grizzlies guard feels about that, but Smart recently took the high road when asked about it.

“Shout out to Jaylen (Brown), Jayson (Tatum) and the Boston Celtics on the championship…I’m proud of them…I know everyone is expecting me to be salty,” said Smart, via Tidal League on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter.

The bitter irony of the situation is that Porzingis, the play whom Smart was moved to bring in, hardly played at all during the Celtics' dominant championship run, meaning the team probably could have won without him and with Smart back in the fray.

Can the Celtics do it again?

Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown holds the MVP trophy during the Boston Celtics Championship parade
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are expected to bring back almost their entire group from this past season heading into 2024-25, where they will be the clear favorites to repeat as NBA champions. Boston profiles as essentially the perfect team for the way the game is played in the modern NBA, as Brad Stevens has compiled a roster filled with size, defensive versatility, and perimeter shooting. In fact, every player in the Celtics' starting lineup, as well as most of their bench pieces, check every one of those boxes, something that can't be said about any other team in the league.

It should be noted that no team in the past five years has made it past the second round the year after winning the championship, a trend that continued this year with the Denver Nuggets losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, with the rest of the Eastern Conference looking as weak as it currently does, it would appear that the only thing stopping the Celtics from at least reaching the Finals again next year would be injuries, and it would probably take more than one of them.