Are the Celtics the Team To Beat?
The Boston Celtics have been a Championship based team since their formation in 1946. Since 1946, the Celtics have been able to win a, League leading, 17 championships. The Celtics have not won a championship in a decade, but have shown glimpses of a very promising future. The Celtics, not only are known for their championship success, but they are also known for making blockbuster moves.
Last season, the Celtics would land big names like Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving, and draft Jayson Tatum. The Celtics looked unstoppable on paper but the injury bug held them back. During the opening minutes of the season opener, Gordon Hayward was taken out on a stretcher with gruesome, fractured ankle. That ankle injury, despite possible return rumors, would sadly keep Hayward out for the season. The season goes on looking pretty good for Boston. Winning games, Game winners, until it all pretty much went down hill late in the season. Kyrie addressed soreness in his knee from a former injury a few years back. Kyrie got the surgery and was estimated to be back before playoffs. Weeks past and Kyrie still felt uncomfortable. Irving thought it would be best to get another surgery to fix his knee. That (Very smart) decision just so happen to shut him down for the remainder of the season, including playoffs. The Celtics were able to cope with the injury bug as bench players like Rozier and Smart stepped up, the Celtics would go on to shock the world and were just 9 points away from a finals appearance. The Celtics would lose to the Cavaliers in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.
Now, I am sitting here typing this article with many predictions with this upcoming Celtics team. Last season was a one for the books, but what will it take to go further than the Eastern Conference Finals?
The Celtics are most likely the team to beat in the east. Although the Raptors acquired superstar Kawhi Leonard, I still do not see the Raptors making it past Boston. Here is why: For the past three years, the Toronto Raptors have been the top three seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. Twice, LeBron James and the Cavaliers have cleanly swept the Raptors. Yes, LeBron is out west, and that might help to everyone’s advantage in the East, but Toronto just has not figured out their playoff plans. You have to earn the wins in the regular season, Toronto does that just well, but it always seems to shut down after the regular season. The Raptors destroyed their team chemistry between Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan. That combo might have had the best team chemistry in the game, and with Derozan exiting due to a blockbuster trade, it’s not there anymore. Don’t forget Toronto lost their “Coach of the Year” Dwayne Casey to the Pistons. Another down for the Raptors, In my Opinion, was the acquisition of Greg Monroe. Maybe the biggest reason the Celtics did not offer Monroe to a deal was the fact that he was just too slow for the Celtics style of play. The Celtics are a fast break team, and Monroe just was not fit in that role. Monroe also lacks shooting, he has a very weak ability to stretch the floor, and that could possibly hurt Toronto.
The Philadelphia 76’ers are closing in on a potential Conference finals run, and could be the team that’s most threatening to the Boston Celtics. The Sixers have been one of the most impressive teams in basketball these past couple of seasons. Although from going 28-54 in 2017, the Sixers and their young talent shot up to a top three seeded team in 2018. The Sixers have been injected with the injury bug since the start of the process. With Joel Embiid playing and Ben Simmons finally playing his first season, winning rookie of the year, they seem to finally get things going. Last season, the Injury prone Celtics were able to defeat the healthy 76’ers 4-1 in the semi-finals. We will all be able to see this classic rivalry opening night in the Garden!
Although the Celtics have a roster that can seriously compete. Will Kyrie and Gordon coming back potentially put a dent into the team chemistry? With the two stars being out late in the season and the whole playoffs, the Celtics young bench players were able to step up huge, and create such a memorable run. The with Rozier and Baynes filling in the starting lineup late in the season, the Celtics were nearly unstoppable with Smart and Morris coming off the bench down the stretch. It will surely be an interesting season for the Celtics, as they will look to come out on top, and represent the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA finals! The best part of it all if you’re a Celtics fan is that this is only the beginning!
Until Next Time, I am Justin Lowe.