The hype-train has officially made its way to Boston. Many have boarded in hopes of riding it to the most sought-after destination in basketball. Vegas currently has the Boston Celtics as the team with 4th best chance of taking home a championship.
The hype has gotten so out of control that it’s now virtually impossible to scroll through the NBA twitter feed without seeing a Marcus Smart fan account mentioning a championship.
Many big-name analysts have also been chugging the Boston Kool-aid lately. Jalen Rose along with the not-problematic Kendrick Perkins believe the Celtics will represent the East in the NBA Finals. Shaquille O’Neal and (probably) Jackie MacMullan believe they will come out on top.
I don’t really understand these takes. It’s very clear that the Celtics have a huge problem in their front court. The rotation of Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams is the worst big-man rotation in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The one team with a potentially worse rotation would be the Brooklyn Nets. That’s strictly because Jarrett Allen was their only big man to suit up in the bubble.
With that said, the Celtics interior presence is so non-existent that they let Allen look like prime Shaq in their 3 head-to-head games prior to the bubble. They allowed Allen to average 5 offensive rebounds per game in only 24 minutes of action. If they couldn’t stop skinny Jarrett Allen, what makes you think they’d be able to stop the league’s most dominant bigs?
We already saw Joel Embiid dominate the paint and average a whopping 30 points per game in the first round. We should expect Siakam, Ibaka and Gasol to thrive as well.
If the Celtics somehow manage to beat the potentially Lowry-less Raptors, they’ll most likely have to match-up with the league’s MVP. Don’t forget, everyone’s a gangster until Giannis drives through the lane.
Along with the gaping hole in the Celtics front court, more attention should be focused on Kemba Walker. Many “experts” point to the emergence of his counterpart Jayson Tatum as a major reason why the Celtics could win the East. However, many ignore the fact that Tatum’s transformation into a fringe-superstar actually occurred during Walker’s injury plagued February.
During that month, Tatum scored an unreal 31 points per game on 49 percent from the field. He also shot 48 percent from three. Can Tatum lead this team to the promised land with Walker running the offense? We can’t just assume that Tatum will continue his potentially unsustainable scoring rampage when the offense isn’t even going through him.
I understand that the media loves to jam lazy Celtic takes down our throats whenever they have the opportunity. But please don’t get your hopes up. Instead of hopping on the Boston Finals hype train, it’s probably best to take the “T” to your local dive bar and drown out your sorrows with some ice-cold Sam Adams.