Despite losing two key players, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, last summer, the Boston Celtics still managed to establish an impressive performance and exceed the expectations from them in the 2019-20 NBA season. Before the NBA went on a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Celtics were sitting in the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 43-21 record. The Celtics currently may not be viewed on the same level as powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers, but there are still some people who believe that they have what it takes to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year, including former NBA player and basketball analyst Jay Williams.
In a recent appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Williams included the Celtics on the list of NBA teams that he expected to make a huge noise in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Williams admitted that he still considered Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks as the heavy favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2020 finals. However, if the Bucks fail to live up to expectations in the postseason, Williams believes that the Celtics have enough talent on their roster to take their place.
“When you have Gordon Hayward, who’s going to be healthy, when you have Jayson Tatum that was playing at an MVP-caliber-type level before the season ended, you add that to Jaylen Brown, who secured his bag,” Williams said, as quoted by Adam London of NESN. “He’s playing at a very high level defensively. He’s a big-time wing, too, that can lock down defenders. You combine that with Kemba Walker — four guys that can average over 20 points. Marcus Smart, defensively, he’s there.”
Like other teams, the Celtics also have some weaknesses on their roster, including the need for a defensive-minded big man. The Celtics may have Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams III manning the center position, but none of them are quality rim protectors who could efficiently go up against the likes Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. However, Williams thinks that if the Celtics shoot efficiently from the three-point range, they could hide their weakness and beat the Bucks in the battle for Eastern Conference supremacy.
“But if they get hot from the outside, this is a team that can catch fire and a team that can find themselves in the world championships of the NBA Finals,” Williams added.
The Celtics may have lost some star power last summer, but compared to the previous season, they are currently performing well as a team. If they become more consistent with their performance and build better chemistry, the Celtics may really make it to the 2020 NBA Finals and challenge the best team in the Western Conference this year.