When the 2019-20 NBA season officially started, no one considered the Boston Celtics as a serious threat in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics may have managed to replace Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency, but they still haven’t filled the void Al Horford left on the defensive end of the floor. However, though their roster is far from being perfect, the Celtics are currently proving that they aren’t an NBA team that can be underestimated.
This season, the Celtics showed that they can beat NBA teams that are considered heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, including the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks and the two Western Conference powerhouse teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Though most people still don’t see them on the same level as the aforementioned teams, there are already some who think that the Celtics have what it takes to fully dominate the Eastern Conference and win the 2020 NBA championship title. This includes Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports 1.
In a recent episode of The Herd w/Colin Cowherd, which is currently available on Twitter, the Fox Sports 1 analyst played his NBA 3-word Game. For the Celtics, Cowherd simply described them as “can win title.”
“Celtics: Can win title,” Cowherd said, as quoted by NESN. “Three guys averaging 20 a game, only team in the NBA that can say that. By the way, they match up well with Milwaukee, split regular season with them. They’re also third in scoring defense, they’ve got depth, third in points per game differential. This team gets overshadowed by the star-driven Lakers, the Clippers’ story and Milwaukee’s massive regular season. Name another NBA team with four starters — three average 20 — that can give you 24 on any given night. It doesn’t exist. The Lakers don’t know who gives them 18 after LeBron (James) and Anthony Davis. I think they can win the title.”
On paper, last season’s Celtics’ roster was indeed more talented compared to this year’s squad. However, performance-wise, the Kemba Walker-led Celtics are far better than the team with Kyrie Irving as their main man last season. As of now, the Celtics rank No. 5 in the NBA’s offensive efficiency, scoring 110.3 points per 100 possessions, and No. 3 in defensive efficiency, allowing 103.7 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN.
From the time he set foot in Boston, Walker continues to prove that he’s the type of leader that the Celtics need to succeed. Unlike Irving, Walker’s presence isn’t negatively affecting the games of young players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who have both found their way back to the path of becoming a legitimate NBA superstar in the league. The Celtics’ road to the 2020 NBA Finals won’t be easy, but if they remain consistent with their performance and healthy throughout the season, they would definitely be a major problem to every team that they could potentially face in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.