Before we jump into this question I do want to apologize to any viewers that have been let down by no blog after the Liverpool preseason game, I really would have liked to get something out but a family emergency happened and I didn’t get to watch enough to comment.
Now onto the above question, are the Celtics serious contenders in the East? Well let’s look at it. There are really five teams, (really three but we’ll stick with five for now) competing for the one seed in the east, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, the Indiana Pacers, and the Brooklyn Nets. The Toronto Raptors were amongst those teams last year but now that Kawhi has left for the limelight in LA they are really no longer competing. Don’t get me wrong the Raptors are still going to get wins and are still a good team, Pascal Siakam is a legitimate stud and a player to build your team around.
I want to start with the Brooklyn Nets, are they really going to be competing for the top spot this year, the simple answer being no. Us Celtics fans know the tough truth being that Kyrie Irving cannot lead an NBA team by himself, it’s not his comfort zone. With Kevin Durant obviously out for the entire year this team will not be good enough. DeAndre Jordan is a solid NBA center but he’s not a game changer. And a supporting cast of Caris Levert, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen is a good place to be, just not ready to be a clear front runner, but I think Brooklyn is okay with that knowing that the entire dynamic of their team changes the second Kevin Durant comes back.
Next is the Indiana Pacers, a team that I certainly love to watch because of what they are, a team. As soon as their best player and my favorite non Celtic, Victor Oladipo went down with injury everyone counted them out, including myself. But they went on to continue playing just as well as they were with Oladipo thanks to other guys stepping up and playing a role they needed. I know they went on to get swept by our Celtics but that series is different with Oladipo we all know that. Keeping their core of Oladipo, Turner and Sabonis and adding Malcolm Brogdon, a past ROTY and great point guard for the system this Pacers can cause problems if downplayed.
Next up is the Celtics fierce rivals, the 76ers. The Sixers made some noise this offseason buy retaining Tobias Harris, trading for Josh Richardson and of course as we all know, signing our beloved Al Horford. But also losing J.J Reddick, and I know that sounds like a non important fact to mention, but if you really think about it Reddick was very important to that team. With Reddick on the floor for the Sixers last year it meant that they could at least space the floor with ONE player, which meant that there was one LESS player to be able to double Embiid in the post. Now look at their roster without Reddick. Al Horford might be the best shooter they have. What will stop every team that plays them from basically just clogging the paint and basically taking away Embiid’s best part of his game. With virtually no deep threat to space the floor I still don’t believe that Philly will be able to compete against both the Celtics and the Bucks, let alone whoever comes out of that packed West.
Which leaves me just the Bucks. And I’m gonna say this right now, the Bucks will be the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, they are GOOD, but… they are not unbeatable. There has been a stretch of 8 straight years that the team with the best player in the East has been to the NBA finals, and Giannis is undoubtedly the best player in the East this year. But like I said they are not unbeatable. They bring back basically the exact same team, minus Brogdon aforementioned, which although is a big loss he was hurt for a lot of last season and the Bucks didn’t look lost without him. The key to beating the bucks is easier said than done, and that is to simply not let Giannis beat you. He will get his and he will dominate, just don’t let him take over games and ultimately take over the series. If you’re gonna lose, lose to a Khris Middleton all time game, or lose to a crazy Brook Lopez three, just don’t let Giannis beat you. I don’t know why NBA teams won’t hire me, sounds like pretty good advice, no?
And there ya have it, all the Celtics competition for this upcoming season, tune into a new podcast that myself and J Trev will be starting called The Court Report, to understand more of the Celtics roster and how they line up against the aforementioned teams. Hopefully I’ll Catch Ya Then!