The middle ground can be the worst place to reside in the NBA.
The top and bottom tiers of the league each have their respective senses of direction. The former, obviously, will legitimately compete for a title, while the latter can look forward to obtaining a high draft pick and moving forward with a young core. As for the “average” teams, something needs to give to avoid being stuck in a perpetual state of mediocrity.
Nick Wright believes the Boston Celtics squandered their chance by failing to trade for Anthony Davis, who reportedly will be joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Given what the C’s now have, the “First Things First” co-host believes Boston has taken residence in “no man’s land.”
Wright might be counting out the Celtics too early. With Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier all expected to find new homes this summer, Boston likely will enter the 2019-20 campaign with a clearer identity than this past season when it unsuccessfully tried to mesh too many stars and above-average players together. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown effectively have become the Celtics’ cornerstones, and the two swingmen haven’t even come close to scratching the surface of their primes.
The Eastern Conference also could look vastly different come fall. Kawhi Leonard very well could depart Toronto, and Philadelphia probably would be lucky to re-sign even one of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Not to mention, there’s a chance Giannis Antetokounmpo loses his right-hand man, Khris Middleton, in free agency.
As it stands, Boston probably isn’t a legitimate NBA Finals contender. But a lot can change in the NBA over the span of a few months.