Boston Celtics third-year man, Jaylen Brown expressed his confidence in Boston reaching the NBA Finals come next season and it’s not that crazy.
May 27, 2018. We all know how the final minutes transpired for the Boston Celtics last season. A heartbreaking game 7 loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers sent 20,000 home in anguish. However with James off to begin the “LA-Bron” era with the Lakers, the Eastern Conference is wide open, and Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics are the top dog.
During a podcast recording with Portland Trailblazer C.J. McCollum, Brown had a few strong words regarding where he believes Boston will end up next season.
“Oh we’re getting to the Finals… no question about it” Brown stated.
Now if we were to hear this from Demarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry or any other Golden State Warriors player, we’d instantly be sold right? Well, why not Boston?
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When taking a look at the teams standing in the Celtics way of reaching the NBA Finals, it’s fairly underwhelming and comes down to just two. The Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s it!
Let’s also add the fact that those teams didn’t make enormous strides to improve their rosters this off-season. Yes, I’m aware of the fact that Kawhi Leonard is now in the Eastern Conference. So what? He doesn’t punch Toronto’s ticket to a Finals trip by any means.
Think about it. We can start off with the fact that the Raptors fired their franchises most single-season winningest coach; to justify their petrified roster who fears the presence of LeBron James more than anything imaginable.
The Toronto Raptors
We can also address the very elephant in the room, being the man himself. Kawhi Leonard is entering his shortly expected tenure as a Raptor in strange terms. For one, he never mentioned Toronto as a preferred trade destination during his ongoing feud with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. Not to mention the fact that Kawhi only played in nine games last season.
It seems as though he’s got his eyes set on one thing, Los Angeles. There’s no telling what Leonard’s going to give the Raptors organization next season.
The Philadelphia 76ers
An interesting situation to say the least for Philadelphia. We can begin with the twitter burner account scandal surrounding their former GM, Bryan Colangelo. Not Phili’s ideal start to their off-season, especially when their goal was set on landing a big name. That being my overall point exactly.
The 76ers didn’t make any crucial improvement to put them over the top in the East. They missed out on the LeBron sweepstakes and didn’t add to improve their core after the fact. Marco Belinelli was lost via free agency, along with Ersan Ilyasova.
However, the dark horse for the 2019 Sixers is Markelle Fultz. He’s practically a lottery ticket for Phili at this point with nobody aware of his expectations for next season. The follow up of a fairly disappointing and perhaps disastrous debut season into “The Process”. Fultz finished year one with at 47.7% from the free throw line while averaging 7.1 points through his 14 rookie season games.
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The Boston Celtics
Now back to Boston. While this hasn’t been the blockbuster off-season of last year, the team is improving.
Brad Stevens is set for a challenge that in no way, shape, or form is a bad situation for him next season. He’s going to have his most talent-loaded roster since joining the Celtics as head coach.
We already saw the preview in Jayson Tatum’s rookie year where he shot 43% from three and 47% from the field.
Jaylen Brown sparked his ppg average from 6.6 to 14.5 in his sophomore season. Brown also shot over 39% from three while was his “weakness” heading into his 2016 draft night.
Let’s also remember that Danny Ainge took a projected “lottery level talent” in
27th overall selection, Robert Williams. Under the coaching genius that is Brad Stevens, who knows what Williams could add to this title-contending core. We’ll have to wait and see.
That journey for Boston begins in October.