The return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward made most people believe that the Boston Celtics are the best NBA team in the Eastern Conference this season. However, inserting both superstars to the Celtics’ core that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year proved to be a tough task for Coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics have gone through ups and downs in the 2018-19 NBA season, and as of now, they are still far from reaching their full potential.
Entering the NBA All-Star break, the Celtics are sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 37-21 record. While the Celtics were focused on improving their chemistry, several Eastern Conference contenders succeeded in upgrading their roster before the February NBA trade deadline.
The Philadelphia 76ers acquired another All-Star caliber star in Tobias Harris in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Toronto Raptors boosted their frontcourt by sending a trade package including Jonas Valanciunas to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Marc Gasol. The Milwaukee Bucks, who are currently the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, got stronger with the acquisition of Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Celtics may not have done anything to improve their current roster before the February NBA trade deadline, but Jayson Tatum expressed strong confidence that they will be the one winning the NBA championship this season.
“We’re going to win the finals this year,” Tatum said Saturday, via NBA on ESPN, as reported by the Big Lead. “February 16th, Jayson Tatum said we’re going to win the finals this year.”
Jayson Tatum: 'I wanna play [in Boston] my whole career' https://t.co/fVcWfXFpFK
— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) February 17, 2019
Jayson Tatum’s recent statements are not pure boast. Even without making any roster move, most NBA teams in the Eastern Conference are aware that the Celtics shouldn’t be underestimated. As of now, the Celtics still have one of the most talented rosters in the league.
They have combination of veterans like Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford, who have plenty of playoff experience, and young players like Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown, who have proven their capability to step up in crucial situations. As of now, the only thing that the Celtics need to do is focus on developing their chemistry and figure out which lineups work best.
The outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season will be vital for players like Jayson Tatum, as it could determine his future in Boston. If they fail to at least enter the NBA Finals, it is highly likely that the Celtics will proceed in their plan of pursuing New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis next summer.