Marcus Smart currently does not view the Boston Celtics as the best team in the NBA.
Kendrick Perkins has a different opinion.
The Celtics certainly were among the legitimate Finals contenders entering the 2022 playoffs, but few likely tabbed Boston as the team to beat in the postseason. Perkins now looks at the C’s as the top dog, as he believes Boston’s first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets told him everything he needs to know about Ime Udoka’s team.
“What the Celtics have shown me is no other team in the NBA that’s in the postseason would have swept and did what they did to the Brooklyn Nets,” Perkins said Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “That’s how great they are defensively. I know we keep talking about how much of a juggernaut the Golden State Warriors are. But offense wins you games, defense wins you championships. When I look at these guys as far as their defensive lineup, there’s no other team that has the perimeter defenders like the Boston Celtics.
“Jayson Tatum right now is the best two-way player in the game. Jaylen Brown, we know how he locks down defensively. And don’t get me started on Marcus Smart and what he can do to a person. Then you have big Al Horford, Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Daniel Theis, who all are defensive-minded people and are capable of sliding those puppies. So when I look at this Celtics team, I’m looking at their defense and I’m saying, ‘Who wants to face them? Who can’t they stop?’ “
Oddsmakers aren’t yet willing to give the Celtics the “best team” billing, as the Warriors (+280) currently have shorter championship odds than Boston (+370) at DraftKings Sportsbook.