Championship Odds: +1300
Jayson Tatum: 23.6 PTS, 7.1 REB, 2.9 AST, 1.4 STL
Kemba Walker: 21.2 PTS, 4.1 REB, 4.9 AST, 0.9 STL
Jaylen Brown: 20.4 PTS, 6.4 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.1 STL
Gordon Hayward: 17.3 PTS, 6.5 REB, 4.1 AST, 0.8 STL
Marcus Smart: 13.5 PTS, 3.8 REB, 4.8 AST, 1.6 STL
Daniel Theis: 9.3 PTS, 6.6 REB, 1.6 AST, 0.6 STL
Players Sitting Out
|7/31||Milwaukee Bucks||6:30 PM||ESPN|
|8/2||Portland Trailblazers||3:30 PM||ABC|
|8/4||Miami Heat||6:30 PM||TNT|
|8/5||Brooklyn Nets||9:00 PM||ESPN|
|8/7||Toronto Raptors||9:00 PM||TNT|
|8/9||Orlando Magic||5:00 PM||NBC Sports Boston|
|8/11||Memphis Grizzlies||6:30 PM||TNT|
|8/13||Washington Wizards||TBD||NBC Sports Boston|
As a Celtics fan, I’m very excited about the potential this team has heading toward the postseason. Jayson Tatum is blossoming into a legit superstar, and Jaylen Brown is right behind him making big strides of his own. Lead by point guard Kemba Walker, the 2019-20 Celtics are much more unselfish and unified than they’ve been the past few years. I am going to explain to you why the Boston Celtics have a great chance at winning their 18th championship this year in Orlando.
First of all, let’s point out the obvious: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have become stars and borderline superstars this season. It was only a matter of time before the young duo broke out, and once Kyrie Irving left and they were given more freedom offensively, that is exactly what happened. Tatum and Brown are averaging 23.6 PPG and 20.4 PPG respectively, and they’ve gained an enormous amount of confidence during this season. Either one of them can go for 30+ on any given night, however they also bring so much more to the table aside from scoring. In fact, they both average over a steal a game (Tatum averages 1.4 and Brown averages 1.1). On top of putting up incredible offensive numbers, their commitment to the defensive side of the ball is a championship mentality that rubs off on the whole team.
Perhaps the most important player on the Celtics is Kemba Walker. Walker is in his first year with the Celtics and he’s already turned a team that underachieved in 2018-19 into overachievers this year. Kemba has a “win at all costs” mindset which is why he seemed to have no problem giving Tatum the spotlight and allowing him to be the #1 option offensively. Don’t get me wrong, Kemba still has great numbers. That’s the great part about Walker: He can still be a very productive player while coexisting with other star players. Kemba elevates everyone around him on top of putting up elite numbers in his own right, and let’s hope that he’s 100% healthy come playoff time because when he’s at full strength, the sky is the limit for the Celtics.
It’s no secret that the Celtics’ biggest competition in the Eastern Conference is the Bucks. If the Celtics want any chance of making it to the finals, it’s essential that they know how to beat Milwaukee. The concept of beating the Bucks is simple: contain Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, this simple concept is much easier said than done. Giannis, arguably the best player in the NBA, is an absolute force who can get to the hoop at will and is great at finishing in traffic. There is no stopping Giannis, but Boston’s roster has a lot of strong, athletic players that should collectively be able to slow him down. If Brad Stevens sticks to the game plan of giving Semi Ojeleye extended minutes against the Bucks in the playoffs, Giannis will have a much harder time offensively. Ojeleye has been known to make Giannis uncomfortable in the past, and having him in the game along with other great athletes like Brown, Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Gordon Hayward will allow them to switch on screens without being forced into a mismatch. If the Celtics can slow down Giannis, they’ll be slowing down their whole team and this is how the Celtics can get passed the Bucks.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but if the Boston Celtics are clicking on all cylinders the way have been for so much of this year, a championship is within reach. With arguably the best starting lineup in the league, they have no shortage of talent. Kemba Walker’s leadership has already proven to be a huge for boost for the Celtics, and I truly believe Kemba, Tatum, and Brown have what it takes to be the core players of a championship winning team. The Celtics are finally in position to bring another championship back to Boston, and don’t be surprised when it happens.