A new season is upon us, and with it comes plenty of intriguing storylines. From massive traves and superstar uncertainty in the East to a West perhaps the deepest it has ever been, here is an early season NBA Power ranking.
Far-Fetched Friday: The Boston Celtics Advance to the Eastern Conference Finals
The Celtics have been an underwhelming team since making it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020. Last year, they finished with a mediocre 36-36 record, and got bounced out of the first round of the playoffs in only 5 games. This season, they started off the year 17-19 during the 2021 portion of the schedule. Boston was in danger of missing the playoffs altogether, including the play-in tournament. Something about the team changed after the calendar switched over to 2022, however, as the team is boasting a 15-6 record since then, bringing their overall record to a solid 32-25. I expect the momentum they have found themselves riding to continue through the playoffs, leading to a surprising Eastern Conference Finals appearance in this year's playoffs.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we look at one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
Boston's squad is not without its question marks. Ime Udoka is in his first season as a head coach in the NBA, so it remains to be seen how he can adjust his game plans throughout a 7-game series. Furthermore, outside of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the roster does not have many reliable players on offense. Al Horford is a steady veteran presence, but he is only averaging 10 PPG on the season. Robert Williams III, while an exceptionally efficient player, is not capable of creating his own offensive opportunities outside of put backs. Marcus Smart is equally as likely to drop 20+ points in a game as he is to drop 6.
This is all to say that Tatum and Brown will need to be at their best for the Celtics to progress through the playoff bracket. Luckily, Tatum has proven himself to be a player who elevates his game to match the spotlight of the playoffs. Having led the team to two ECF trips already, Tatum and Brown know exactly what it takes to survive and eliminate teams as primary options. Those two showing out, as well as scattered big games from the likes of Smart, newly-acquired Derrick White, and even the big men Williams and Horford, will be enough to stay afloat offensively. That may be all they need to do, as the Celtics have one of the top defenses in the league (their defensive rating of 105.1 ranks second in the NBA.) Boston's lineup is filled to the brim with versatile defenders, who will be able to work together to tire out the opposing teams' best players.
As one of the hottest teams in the league right now, the Boston Celtics are poised to make some real noise in the playoffs.
Between their elevated play, and the shakiness of some of the top teams in the East, the Celtics will be able to fight their way all the way to the final four teams of the NBA playoffs.
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