Celtics’ 2008 NBA title marks best turnaround in league history


On the heels of a disappointing .500 season marred by injuries and COVID-19, the Celtics will look for a turnaround with their sights set on Banner 18. If franchise history is any indication, a complete 180 is certainly attainable.

Boston has two of the most staggering single-season turnarounds in NBA history, with one resulting in a championship. Other turnarounds, however, have come after dismal seasons.

Let’s look back at some of the worst years and greatest comeback seasons in franchise history.

What was the worst season in Celtics history?

The worst season in franchise history came in 1996-97. M.L. Carr’s squad finished with a 15-67 record, claiming 18 fewer wins than it did the season prior. It is one of just four times in franchise history in which the team had a winning percentage below .333.

Rick Pitino took charge of the team for the 1997-98 season and helped get the team back up to 36 wins before falling back below 20 in 1998-99.

What was the Celtics’ best one-year turnaround in history?

How could a team go from 24 wins one season to 66 wins and an NBA title the next?

Well, anything is possible.


The C’s went 24-58 in 2006-07 before making the franchise-altering acquisitions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the 2007 offseason. Along with Paul Pierce, Boston’s Big 3 fought its way into the Finals before taking down Kobe Bryant’s Lakers in six games.

The 42-win improvement from one season to the next is the largest in NBA history. Boston also has the fifth-highest such improvement, winning 32 more games in 1979-80 (61) than 1978-79 (29).