Can the Celtics win the NBA Championship?
According to many experts, the Cavaliers are the only team from the Eastern conference that is talented and experienced enough to make it to the Finals. The Cavaliers regarded as the only real contender from the East, the only one that can win the Championship. But what about Boston? Can the Celtics win the NBA Championship? Two years ago they made a surprising surge to the playoffs. Last year, they lost in the first round again but were better. In the summer, they got one of the two free agents they targeted. They have a great roster filled with role players, and they have a star in Isaiah Thomas that can score in bunches. Are they the Denver Nuggets following the Carmelo Anthony trade, or they can take things to the next level? We examine can the Celtics win the NBA championship, and what it will take them.
Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics – Full Game Highlights Nov 2
The Celtics have improved their defense in each of the seasons Brad Stevens coached the team. When he first got to Boston, the Celtics were a mess of players. They finished 18th in defensive rating in his first year. But the next year, they improved and got the No.12 ranked defense. And last year, they had the fourth-best defense in the league. With defensive specialists, active hands on defense, and excellent protection of the paint, the Celtics were able to shut teams down for stretches.
This year, not so much. Their biggest problem is rebounding. As a team, they average three fewer rebounds than last year. And their defense is in the bottom 15. Every time the Celtics were contenders and got deep into the playoffs, they did it on the back of their defense. This year that is not the case. One of the reasons people do not ask can the Celtics win the NBA championship is defense. To be competitive, the Celtics will have to improve their defense. They are getting better, but it is a fact that they cannot have Al Horford as their primary defender in the paint. Yes, he is versatile. Yes, he averages a ton of blocks. But he is just not good at covering space, deflecting shots, and gets bullied by stronger and bigger players.
Knicks vs Celtics Highlights
A rumor surging around is that the Celtics are ready to make a trade at the deadline. They got Al Horford, who was one of their two targets for the summer. The second one was Kevin Durant, or any other potent scorer via trade, like Jimmy Butler or Paul George. But they did not get their second guy. And now, the rumors are surging that the Celtics might trade for a defensive center, someone like Nerlens Noel or Andrew Bogut during the deadline. Yes, they will also look to get a star player, if possible. Boston has a ton of assets that it can use to get a team thinking about a trade. Starting from this year’s draft player Jaylen Brown, a bunch of other young players, and a plethora of assets, including the next year’s Nets pick.
If they do not make a trade, they will need a lot more from their supporting players. At the moment, Isaiah Thomas is their clutch player. Every game that goes down to the line, it comes down to whether IT can get between 7 and 10 points in the last six minutes. For the Celtics to be competitive and have a chance at the title, they need more from players like Marcus Smart, and their bigs like Amir Johnson and Jerebko. Currently, Avery Bradley is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.3 rebounds per game. That cannot happen. We mentioned earlier that rebounding is a problem for the Celtics, and the bigs need to step up.
Teams standing in their way
Cavaliers vs Celtics Highlights
The Boston Celtics regarded as the third-best team in the East. The two teams before them are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. The good news is that the Celtics will probably have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs this year. The bad news? They will probably have to beat both Toronto and Cleveland. So, can the Celtics win the NBA championship by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and whoever comes out of the west?
They certainly have the chances. The interesting fact is that the Celtics have more troubles playing the Raptors than the Cavaliers. Starting from the time Lebron James joined the Cavs, the Celtics have a losing record against the Cavs, 3:5. But they were competitive in each game. They’ve managed to win in Cleveland, and they’ve managed to keep the Cavs under 90 points few times. In the same period against the Raptors, the Celtics also have a 3:5 record. But going back one season longer, and that record is even more for the Raptors. Toronto has been the division champion in the Atlantic for a few years now.
But if they somehow get away from the East, and get to the Finals, the Celtics have good chances. They’ve proven in the past few years that they can play the Golden State Warriors and be competitive to the last second. Sometimes they’ve won, sometimes they’ve lost. The Spur are another team that might come out of the West, and the Celtics have a very similar strategy to the Spurs. Both San Antonio and Boston rely on their role players, and their one star to get away in the closing minutes.
Can the Celtics win the NBA Championship?
Isaiah Thomas 52 Points! 29 in the 4th Quarter
So, let’s ask again, can the Celtics win the NBA championship? As currently constructed, it will probably take one more year for the Celtics to be genuine contenders for the title. They need one more star player to pair along Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Their role players are great, but they have way too many role players. If the Celtics can swing a deal at the deadline, for a star, then we might have a different discussion. The problem is, not many stars are available. The one player that might change the outlook of the Boston Celtics is Demarcus Cousins. If the Celtics do not give up Al Horford or Thomas and get Cousins at the deadline, they will be on par with the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland for the NBA title.
Get Boston Celtics tickets for all games at the Boston Garden!