The Celtics aren’t the favorites to win the NBA Finals after the league resumes play next week.
Max Kellerman jumped on the bandwagon Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take,” explaining during a segment also featuring Kendrick Perkins and Marcus Spears that Boston is capable of winning a title this season.
“If you’re asking me, what is their ceiling? Are they the kind of team that could win a championship in a weird kind of season? The answer is yes, I think they are,” Kellerman argued. ” … Their starting five you could argue is the best in basketball, if you’re not just talking about the total value of them but each guy. There’s no one who’s even average. Everyone is anywhere from way above average to an All-Star. Now, there may not be an MVP, and (Jayson) Tatum may not be there yet, but if he takes a step forward in these playoffs, they could do it.
“Think about that starting five. It’s bananas. And unlike with Kyrie (Irving), there’s no locker room issue with Kemba (Walker). Kemba’s a leader. I look at the team. They can shoot, they can play defense. They are a bit undersized. But in this new era, where (Russell) Westbrook is basically the center of the Houston Rockets, the microball era, right. They’re the underdogs, for sure. But what’s their ceiling? Is their ceiling conference finals? Naw, their ceiling is a ‘chip.”
The Celtics are loaded with talent. Tatum, Walker and Jaylen Brown all were averaging at least 20 points per game when the 2019-20 season paused back in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and both Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart can make a major impact, as well.
There are some questions about Boston’s front court, consisting primarily of Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter, but the C’s will be a tough out in the playoffs thanks to their balanced scoring and defensive aptitude under head coach Brad Stevens.
Plus, crazy things could happen in the NBA’s bubble after a four-month layoff. The Celtics, with both youth and depth on their side, seem well positioned to make noise in Orlando.