Those who watched the Celtics last year saw a team full of current and future stars finish with the second best record in the East. Injuries forced the young players into the spotlight, and even with stars going down they were one win away from a Finals appearance. A lot of people are excited about the future of this franchise as the team is expected to take another big step this season. There are still questions that remain. What are the Boston Celtics championship hopes? Are they able to finally beat the best teams in both conferences? Are they true contenders? Let’s break it down below:
Are the Boston Celtics Contenders?
Why they are:
The Celtics are already a playoff team without two of their best players, going all the way to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. Adding Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving back should easily make them the best team in the Eastern Conference. They have the perfect mix of young players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Irving along established veterans like Al Horford and Aron Baynes to make one of the most balanced rosters in the league.
They probably have the deepest team in the entire league as well with other players like Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart and likely Baynes coming off the bench. The depth they have will give them an edge that no other team has including the Warriors. The Warriors might have a better starting five, but they for sure do not have a better bench than the Celtics. The coaching from Brad Stevens is also better than most teams in the league will get. With returning stars, a mix of young players and veterans and the deepest team in the league, they are definitely going to be in contention for the NBA Title next season.
Why they aren’t:
There are two things that may keep this team from becoming contenders and fulfilling their true potential: injuries and the Warriors. Last season the Celtics struggled to stay healthy as they lost Hayward in game one and Irving near the end of the season. For them to be true contenders, they will need all hands on deck. If even one of their starting five go down, they will likely not be able to beat whatever team wins the West.
Then there are the Warriors. They may be the only true thing standing in the way of the Celtics and a championship. The Warriors starting five is going to be better than the Celtics starting five barring a couple major injuries. The Celtics do have their depth going for them, but with a starting lineup that strong it may still be too much for the Celtics to overcome. The Celtics have a lot of talent, but the Warriors just might have more.
How close are they?
The Celtics may just be contenders already. The team they have now is going to be the favorite in the East and without injuries, should easily be able to give any team in either conference a heck of a fight. They have the talent, depth, coaching and work ethic to get it done. It won’t be easy, but the Celtics are truly going to be contenders to win the NBA Title next season.
So, are they contenders?
The answer is clearly yes. No team in the East has as much talent and depth as the Celtics do. Injuries could hinder them, but if they stay healthy there is no telling how far they can go. The only team that could stand in their way is the Warriors, but if that does end up being the finals matchup we know that the Celtics will give them a fight till the end.