While many wonder how valid Boston’s latest title may or may not be, the data points to this year’s Celtics as being one to remember. With the help of TRACR, we sort it all out.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics have finally broken through and won the NBA title.

And while many people want to talk about how valid this title may or may not be because of their playoff path (those folks fail to realize that argument could be made for any past champion), the fact is that the data points to this team being historically great.  

Let’s start by looking at where Boston’s postseason record ranks in the annals of NBA history. Spoiler alert: the answer is pretty high.


With a win percentage of 84.2%, the 23-24 Celtics own the ninth-best single-season postseason record in league history. For those keeping track at home, that’s also the best win percentage in Boston’s storied history.

Now, this is the part of the program where the naysayers point out the injuries to Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen and Tyrese Haliburton that just so happened to occur before/during those teams’ matchups against the Celtics.

So, of course the Celtics went 16-3! They were playing the junior varsity version of the Eastern Conference. Plus, thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves, they didn’t need to deal with Nikola Jokic in the NBA Finals!

To that we have three counter points.

  • First, the Celtics were also dealing with injury issues of their own. Kristaps Porzingis – a player some would argue is Boston’s second most important player – only appeared in seven of his team’s 19 playoff games.
  • Second, in sports, you play who is in front of you, and every team in NBA history that has won an NBA title has benefitted from luck to some extent.
  • Third, and most importantly, the Celtics didn’t just start winning games at a high rate in the playoffs. Boston’s postseasons win percentage was only 6.2% better than their regular-season mark of 78.0% (64-18).

Simply put, the Celtics have been this dominant all season – regardless of how healthy their opponent might be. To contextualize this, let’s take a look at TRACR, which uses advanced metrics and other factors on both ends on the court to calculate how many points per 100 possessions better or worse teams are or were compared to the league-average club during a season (including the playoffs).

This season, the Celtics posted the league’s best O-TRACR (the offensive version of TRACR). Normally, teams with elite offenses give up a little bit on defense. That’s the tradeoff when you put great offensively players on the floor. For instance, the second-best O-TRACR in the NBA this season – the Indiana Pacers – finished 23rd in D-TRACR.

The Celtics don’t have that issue. They have managed to build an elite offense and an elite defense. This season, they ranked second (trailing only the historically great Minnesota Timberwolves defense) in D-TRACR.

That sort of two-way balance is a rare sight. According to our database (which extends all the way back to 1986-87), the 2023-24 Celtics are one of nine teams to finish in the top three in both O-TRACR and D-TRACR.

Elite Balance Chart

TRACR also allows you to compare teams across different eras because it eliminates the league environmental factors that cause numbers to either inflate or deflate in a given season.

Even among all-time great teams, being that great on both ends of the floor is uncommon. Usually, title contenders are near the top in one category, then just good/above average in the other one (or really good, but not great, in both categories). So, in the Celtics’ case, their overall TRACR gets a boost because one end of the floor isn’t diminishing the accomplishments of the other.

The Celtics’ rating is so high that there are only four teams since 1986 who have posted a higher one. Three of those four teams (the one exception being the 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs) ended up winning the NBA championship.

Does it still feel like this whole run was a byproduct of pure luck?

All Time TRACR Chart

At the end of the day, you can try to poke holes in the Celtics’ title all you want. By every indication, they are one of the best teams of the last four decades. Any criticisms that try to suggest otherwise should be considered arbitrary and capricious. And do you know how we know that?

Simple, because the data says. And the data never lies.

Be sure to check out all our MLBNBANHL and NFL coverage. And follow us on X and Instagram for more!