The Boston Celtics were one of the most sensational stories in the entire NBA this past season.
In fact, Boston was just one game away from advancing to the NBA Finals despite playing the entire postseason with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With their recent success, forward Jaylen Brown appeared on the Pull Up Podcast with C.J. McCollum and made a bold claim when he guaranteed that the Celtics would reach the NBA Finals this coming season.
“We’re getting to the Finals,” Brown said on the Pull Up Podcast with Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J.McCollum and Yahoo Sports insider Jordan Schultz. “No question about it.”
“I know LeBron did have a stronghold on the East, but he barely got up out of there this year,” Brown said. “Our mindset was he’s not beating us again.”
This is certainly a very bold claim, but it’s something that definitely has a chance of coming to fruition. The Celtics are expected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference throughout the 2018-19 season along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors also expected to be in the conversation.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the Celtics will host the Sixers on Oct. 16 to open the 2018-19 NBA season. It’s a matchup that the Celtics are rather familiar with as the Sixers are an Atlantic Division rival and the two teams faced one another in the Eastern Conference Semifinals this past postseason. Boston was able to secure a fairly easy series win against the Sixers to say the least.
It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia had a very young roster and didn’t have a ton of postseason experience entering the series aside from guys like J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli. Another year of development and experience for guys like Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Ben Simmons could lead to the Sixers having a big year, so it’s not surprising to see the two teams facing off on opening night.
Charles Barkley appeared on NBA TV on Wednesday and said that he believes it’s a three-team race in the Eastern Conference between the Toronto Raptors, Celtics, and Sixers. He also believes that if Kawhi Leonard is fully buying into the Raptors, that Toronto could be just as dangerous as Boston and Philadelphia. Barkley added that the Celtics should be a fun team to watch this season.
The Celtics appeared on opening night last season against the Cavaliers and that was the infamous game where Gordon Hayward was lost for the duration of the season due to a broken ankle. Barkley may have a point that chemistry may not happen overnight with this group of Celtics considering Hayward played just a few minutes with the team last season. In addition, Kyrie Irving didn’t play down the stretch of the regular season and throughout the postseason.
Brown obviously is stirring the pot with several of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, but he is coming off a stellar year in which he was an integral part of Boston’s success. If the Celtics gel right off the bat, the NBA Finals are certainly an attainable goal.