After he signed a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers last month, the Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer LeBron James’ team, and many NBA pundits are predicting that another team could take over as the Eastern Conference’s representative in the NBA Finals. And if you ask Boston Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown, there’s no team that has a better chance of making next year’s Finals than his team.
According to ESPN, Brown recently guested on Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum’s Pull Up podcast and was asked if he thinks the Celtics have a chance of making the NBA Finals now that James has left the Cavaliers and will be playing for the Lakers in the Western Conference.
“Oh, we’re getting to the Finals. No question about it,” Brown predicted.
In addition to the above forecast for the 2018-19 season, Jaylen Brown said that he isn’t happy with how many people believe the Boston Celtics only have a chance at making the NBA Finals because LeBron James will be suiting up for a Western Conference team.
“I hate how everybody is like, ‘Oh, LeBron’s gone in the East. I know he did have a strong hold on the East for the last seven years, but he barely got us out of there this year. And our mindset was like, ‘Man, he’s not beating us again.'”
Despite losing Gordon Hayward in the very first game of the 2017-18 NBA season and playing without star point guard Kyrie Irving for the entirety of last season’s playoffs, the Celtics held a 3-2 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The team fell just a game short of the Finals after losing the next two games, but are expected to have Hayward and Irving both healthy in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.
Jaylen Brown is confident. pic.twitter.com/Kfor3x3gDh
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 9, 2018
According to Bleacher Report, recently updated betting odds show the Celtics as top favorites to win the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 season. The Philadelphia 76ers, who will again be led by young superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Toronto Raptors, who recently acquired forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs, were mentioned as the only other teams that have “remotely decent” odds to take next year’s Eastern Conference Championship.
Even with the greater expectations and a healthier lineup in mind, Jaylen Brown stressed that the Boston Celtics will have to “stay grounded and just continue to play ball” and maintain the same level of play that helped them enjoy a successful 2017-18 campaign despite the major injuries.
“We have to be on one page if we want to be successful,” Brown said.
After coming off the bench for most of his rookie season, Jaylen Brown, who was picked third overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA Draft, took over as a starter in his sophomore pro season, averaging 14.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 70 games. As noted by ESPN, the 21-year-old California product turned things up in the postseason, averaging 18 points per game in the Celtics’ 2018 playoff run.