There’s no debating the Boston Celtics will be one of the most entertaining NBA teams this season. But are they the most watchable team?
ESPN’s Zach Lowe, for one, doesn’t believe so.
To be fair, Lowe isn’t down on Brad Stevens and Co. In fact, Lowe ranked the Celtics No. 2 in his “NBA League Pass Rankings,” which use various criteria to rank the “watchability” of all 30 teams. Lowe ranked each team based on their style of play, propensity for creating memorable highlights, whether League Pass subscribers would be inclined to watch them over other teams and whether they would appeal to casual fans. There’s also some sex appeal criteria, such as uniforms, home court environment and overall swag.
Got it? Good.
Here’s Lowe’s top 10:
1. Philadelphia 76ers
2. Boston Celtics
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Denver Nuggets
6. Chicago Bulls
7. Houston Rockets
8. Milwaukee Bucks
9. Toronto Raptors
10. Utah Jazz
That’s right: The Celtics, according to Lowe, are more interesting than the Warriors. But what makes the Sixers so compelling?
Here’s some of Lowe’s rationale:
“Philly plays faster, with Ben Simmons as chaos engine,” Lowe wrote. “Boston has the more elaborate half-court offense, though it’s close; Philly’s lack of dependence on the pick-and-roll provides welcome relief from stylistic hegemony. Brad Stevens is the only coach who makes you sit through commercials so you don’t miss his out-of-timeout artistry.
“Philly’s starting five was perhaps the league’s best lineup last season; Boston’s projected starting five — Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford — is the most exciting non-Warriors lineup to hit the league in years. Boston brings four starter-level players off the bench, including the rudest reserve guard duo in recent history — Terry Rozier and inveterate flopper Marcus Smart.”
Judging by the way Lowe began, you’d think he was a bigger fan of the C’s. But here’s where Boston fell short of the Sixers, in his eyes:
“Philly has the best top-to-bottom art,” Lowe wrote. “It has literally zero misses. Boston has black uniforms it should light on fire. Philly even found subtle ways to upgrade an already pristine court.”
“Joel Embiid wants to eviscerate anyone in his way. Embiid’s power gets the slight nod over Irving’s finesse.”
And then there’s this:
“But I kept coming back to one thing that separates Philly: Markelle Fultz. He is the biggest unknown in the league. Every scenario is on the table. He could can enough jumpers, work as the speedster pick-and-roll playmaker Philly badly needs, and solidify his spot in the starting lineup.
” … He could redevelop the yips and crater. No matter what, I want to see every second of it. Philly wins.”
Wait, you mean to tell us that Markelle Fultz is the reason the Sixers ultimately are more interesting than the Celtics? Like, the guy who struggles to hit the broadside of a barn with his jump shot?
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images