Are Celtics Still Best Team In East? Charles Barkley Has His Doubts

Is it already time to jump ship on the Boston Celtics?

The C’s were seen by many as the favorite to run through the Eastern Conference and perhaps give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money in the NBA Finals this season. But Boston has been slow out of the gate to start the campaign, tallying a 2-2 record after four games, including a confounding home loss to the Orlando Magic.

Prior to the Celtics’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, the “NBA on TNT” crew discussed whether or not they still believe in Boston is the cream of the crop. While Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith are sticking with the Green, Charles Barkley might be getting ready to deploy the lifeboats because of how good the Toronto Raptors have looked with Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard has been brilliant during the opening games of the season for the Raptors. After playing in just nine games for the San Antonio Spurs a season ago, the star forward looks exactly like the top three player he was two seasons ago when he finished third in the MVP voting.

The Raptors already boast one of the league’s deepest rosters, but Leonard’s addition gives them the star power they lacked even with DeMar DeRozan. He’s a two-way star who can shut down the opponent’s best player and take over a game offensively when it’s winning time, as he did against Boston in their only meeting this season.

Boston still is extremely talented and undoubtedly will battle the Raptors all season, but their path through the East might not be as clear-cut as many initially believed.

Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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