The Boston Celtics are coming off a demoralizing loss in the NBA Finals. They lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors, falling just short of the franchise’s 18th title. They still sit tied with the Los Angeles Lakers with 17 for the most in NBA history.
What made it truly frustrating for Celtics fans was the fact that they led the series 2-1. They were in control and had Game 4 on their home floor at the TD Garden. But Stephen Curry went nuts and the Warriors took control of the series, never to relinquish it.
Boston was headed into a long offseason with lots of questions. Was Marcus Smart really the answer at point guard? Is Jayson Tatum overrated? Is the Celtics bench deep enough to make a difference against elite teams in the post season? Well, the Boston brass has already addressed some of that. The decisions they have made thus far have put them in prime position to once again reach the NBA Finals and this time, hopefully take the title.
Here are the three reasons the Boston Celtics should be the favorites to win the NBA Championship in 2022-2023.
3 Reasons the Celtics should be the favorites to win the 2022-2023 NBA Championship
Boston’s Offseason Additions
After the NBA Draft, where Boston did not have much draft capital to improve the team, they did one better. They went out and traded with the Indiana Pacers for Malcolm Brogdon.
The Celtics sent Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis and their 2023 first-round pick for Brogdon. The draft pick is likely going to fall somewhere in the mid-to-high 20’s. Theis and Nesmith were not even part of the team’s playoff rotation.
In return, the Celtics filled a massive need. Everyone knows how great the Celtics defense is. They were the best in the NBA last season. Smart was one of the biggest reasons why. However, he is not your typical point guard. Smart cannot create his own shot very easily. He is not a great ball-handler, nor is he a great passer. This forced both Tatum and Jaylen Brown to create much of the team’s offense.
That’s a lot of pressure put on the two elite wing players. Plus, it makes it more difficult for both of them to have the energy to play elite defense.
All of a sudden, the Celtics have a legit playmaker at point guard. Brogdon can create his own shot, and until the last season, was extremely efficient. During his first three years in the NBA with the Bucks, Brogdon was the third of fourth option offensively. That is when he thrived, shooting over 50 percent and being deadly from downtown. His offensive numbers dipped once he joined the Pacers and was asked to be one of the scoring leaders.
On this Celtics team, he will slide right into a similar role the Bucks used for him. He can use his ball-handling and playmaking to help run the Celtics offense. This will also allow for Smart to lock in defensively even more so than last year.
But Boston was not done. They are also reportedly signing veteran scorer Danilo Gallinari. Like Brogdon, when Gallinari has been asked to lead an offense, he has struggled. But on this team, he will be part of a nine-man rotation. Gallinari, Derrick White, Al Horford and Grant Williams will suddenly make up one of the best benches in the nba.
The Celtics are STACKED:
Danilo Gallinari pic.twitter.com/ghVOm5NgRU
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 1, 2022
Celtics Improved Health
One of the biggest problems the Boston Celtics had in the playoffs, including the Finals, was health. Both point guard Marcus Smart and center Robert Williams missed a ton of time. Smart dealt with nagging ankle and foot injuries. Meanwhile, Williams was not close to 100 percent after recovering a serious knee injury.
But the time missed didn’t just hurt them in the Finals. Boston needed seven games to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs. They then needed seven more games to beat the top-seeded Miami Heat. If Boston had a healthy Smart and Williams, it’s very likely that would not have been the case.
Williams particularly being hobbled had a huge effect on the team in the NBA Finals. Anyone could see the difference for Boston when he was on and off the court. When Williams was playing, the Warriors paint presence was essentially non-existent. However, he played limited minutes, especially early in the series. Without Williams on the floor, back-door cuts consistently led to layups and easy baskets.
Both Williams and Smart should be fully healthy when the 2022-2023 season begins. Hopefully, that will also be the case come playoff time.
Experience Losing is Experience Gained
Even though the Celtics lost the Finals, they gained valuable experience. Tatum, who was being touted as one of the best players in the NBA struggled mightily. But don’t forget, LeBron James lost his first NBA Finals at 24 years old. Kevin Durant lost his first NBA Finals at 24 years old.
Tatum will not have nearly the pressure on him to carry the offense. Brown already showed that he is a baller when all the chips are down.
The Celtics needed to learn what it takes to win. They watched it firsthand against them, on their home floor. This will go a long way toward winning the 2022-2023 NBA Championship.