Stephen A. Smith doesn’t blame Jaylen Brown for being confident about the Boston Celtics’ chances of reaching the 2019 NBA Finals.

He still has a little bit of an issue with Brown’s recent comments, though.

Brown was asked this week during an appearance on the “Pull Up” podcast featuring Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum and Yahoo Sports writer Jordan Schultz about Boston reaching the Finals this season, to which the Celtics swingman responded, “No question about it.”

The answer isn’t earth-shattering, as the Celtics are the favorites in the Eastern Conference with LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers and one would hope an NBA player would be confident in his own team’s ability to win games. But Smith offered a warning to the Celtics on Thursday’s episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” explaining that the Toronto Raptors should be taken seriously in the East, especially after swapping DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard.

The road to the NBA Finals definitely got easier for the Celtics when James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Lakers earlier this offseason. The Celtics, who lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals each of the last two seasons, also will have a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back.

That said, the C’s can’t afford to take anything for granted, something head coach Brad Stevens has pointed out this summer. The Raptors, who secured the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed last season, remain a threat, and the Philadelphia 76ers look poised to make some noise as Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid evolve into legitimate NBA stars.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images