For most franchises, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in consecutive years would be a great accomplishment. This is not necessarily the case for the Boston Celtics. The storied franchise is littered with Eastern conference and NBA titles, so just merely making it to the series means absolutely nothing. I know last year they were missing their two franchise players and were being led through the playoffs by two second year players and a rookie. Although, their success throughout the playoffs may have surprised a lot of fans they really only won one road game the entire playoffs and had a chance to send LeBron James home early for the first time in nearly a decade on their home court and laid an egg. Shooting horrendously from the three point line, and making youthful mistakes down the stretch, offered the young team an opportunity to play for an NBA title.
Fast forward to the summer, they have been able to resign a key player, Marcus Smart, who literally represents everything the franchise has become. Smart’s gritty, hard-working attitude reflects the very nature of the organization; he has proven to be one of those players who needs little attention like the stars but impacts the game like one. Boston is positioned to bring back two All NBA performers to their starting lineup in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward as well as the rest of the cast, Al Horford, Jalen Brown and last years’ rookie sensation Jayson Tatum. The bench will be one of the best in the league with Scary Terry Rozier, Smart, Marcus Morris, and Semi Ojeleye and newly drafted big man Robert Williams from Texas A&M.
Boston should be salivating at the opportunity of pursuing an NBA title, now that LeBron James has left the eastern conference for at least four years. The doors have gone through Cleveland and Miami for nearly a decade and now the pickings are ripe for a young but competitive Boston Celtics basketball team, led by a former NBA champion in Irving. This will be a legacy-defining season for Kyrie, with this strong cast of players; he should be able to lead his team to the next level. As long as they can stay healthy, Boston has no excuses for not making it to the NBA Finals out of the lackluster Eastern Conference.
Who will be in their way?
The Boston Celtics may only have two or three teams that can match up with them in a seven game series next season. The closest competition will be the youthful Philadelphia 76ers, who have a tandem in Joel Embid and ROY Ben Simmons that are poised to cause havoc on the east for many years to come. The Sixers will be significantly better after the success they saw last season. They will have more late-game experience, which was a major issue in the playoffs and they will have two players who can dominate a game playing side-by-side. The Boston Celtics may avoid them until the conference finals which will give them the advantage once again if they have home court. The only other teams that may give the Celtics a run for their money are the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. Both of these teams will improve greatly with the exit of LeBron James. They both have top players in the conference, Milwaukee has a potential of adding another all-star in Khris Middleton and a rookie selection in Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, a sharpshooter that adds another element to the roster. The Pacers, on the other hand, would have been a problem last season without the heroics of King James. They picked up a healthy Tyreke Evans to add to their stout core. They will most likely see the largest growth next season than any other team. They are young and hungry with Miles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Evans, Corey Joseph, and young big man Domontas Sabonis. These are ideal compliments to their veterans of Thad Young and Darren Collison. I expect them to be much better but still a game or 2 short of a deep playoff run.
If Boston can keep their defense a consistent piece of their arsenal, I expect them to represent the East in the NBA Finals. Gordon Hayward will win comeback player of the year at the ESPY’s and Kyrie will either win or be runner-up for NBA MVP. So this is why Boston Celtics fans should be disappointed if they do not win an NBA Title next season.
- They have the length and depth to compete and beat the Golden State Warriors.
- LeBron James is no longer in their way
- They have the best bench in basketball and arguably the best starting line-up
- They have a top-5 point guard in Kyrie Irving
- Their young players will have 1 more year of experience
Do you think Boston Celtics will reach the NBA Finals? If so leave a comment and let me know why I am wrong!