Despite the additions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics didn’t really improve their chances to overtake the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, NBA insider Peter Vecsey writes on his Patreon page.
This is true even if new Cavs point Isaiah Thomas is unable to return from a hip injury, Vecsey added.
“The Celtics are right where they were last season when they lost 4-1 in the EC finals,” he wrote.
Just four players return from a Celtics team that finished with the East’s best record. Thomas, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley were starters who got traded.
But clearly, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge figured the old group would never get past LeBron James and the Cavs. So Ainge shook things up.
Can the new Celtics beat the new Cavs in a seven-game series? Probably not — at least not as long as James is healthy and young enough to continue to dominate.
It is also true that this new band of Celtics will need time to learn to play and win together. That is often the case when teams experience a major makeover.
But Irving, Hayward and coach Brad Stevens are a good place to start — and while the legendary Vecsey is likely correct in writing the Celtics still can’t overtake the Cavs, well, it may not necessarily be all about next season.
These Celtics seem much better prepared for the future than the previous group.
Here’s more from around the NBA:
- The Cavs’ Thomas is looking to overcome his injured hip and “validate his status as a star” in search of a max contract, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said during a telecast Monday. “He’s tired of his contract being favorable to everybody but himself,” Smith said. “When he comes back, you gotta remember, he’s on a mission to cement his status as a star.” Smith added that all of this will likely push Thomas to come back and play well sooner rather than later.
- Atlanta Hawks center Miles Plumlee was arrested for possession of marijuana on Long Island in late August, Vecsey wrote (subscription required). According to Vecsey’s post, Plumlee was charged with possession and released on $100 bail. Plumlee is entering the second year of a four-year, $50 million contract.