The Boston Celtics seemingly are a team on the rise.
After a rollercoaster 2018-19 season, the Celtics swapped out a polarizing Kyrie Irving for a team-oriented Kemba Walker, and both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown made significant strides during the 2019-20 campaign as Boston solidified itself as one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams before the coronavirus pandemic stopped play.
But are the C’s legitimate NBA Finals contenders? And if they’re not, could they achieve such status within the next few years?
Celtics Blog’s Keith Smith recently asked several NBA executives and scouts for their thoughts on Boston’s championship potential. While the Celtics drew mostly positive reviews, one scout for an Eastern Conference team expressed doubt over whether Boston ultimately will win a title with its current core.
“I see them a lot, because we’re in the same conference. I don’t see them winning a title with this group,” the scout told Smith. “(Kemba) Walker is slowing down. Gordon Hayward is fine, but that’s all. I like some of the kids, but it’s getting crazy with calling Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum the next great duo.”
It’s unclear whether this is the same scout who claimed Boston’s rookies “stink,” but the above evaluation sure seems to undersell the Celtics, who currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.
This isn’t to say the Celtics are destined for championship glory this season, if it resumes at some point. They seem set up for sustainable success, though, and another move or two could vault Boston firmly into the NBA title conversation before long.