Why Stephen A. Smith thinks Celtics are favorites to win NBA Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The NBA’s final four is the same as in the bubble, but unlike in 2020, the Boston Celtics are the favorites to emerge from the group and win a championship.
Whether it’s analytics models or betting odds, the Celtics are considered the team most likely to be holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy after the 2023 NBA Finals in June.
Do the Celtics deserve to be title favorites?
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith thinks so.
One of his reasons is that Boston can be elite defensively and often has five guys on the court who can defend at a high level. This means they don’t have to double team too often — a luxury most teams don’t have on that end of the floor.
Smith also pointed out the fact that the Celtics have two elite offensive players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, plus a supporting cast of guys who can provide scoring depth such as Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. The Celtics have five players averaging 12-plus points per game. Tatum and Brown just combined to score 76 points in a Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Check out Smith’s full analysis of the Celtics as championship favorites from Tuesday’s “First Take” show in the video below:
The path to the title won’t be easy for the Celtics.
The Miami Heat are a formidable opponent, and it took the Celtics seven games to defeat them in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. If the Celtics get past the Heat, they would face either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are led by the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Nuggets have two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic and a strong supporting cast.
The Celtics have the most talented and deepest roster on paper. They also have the motivation that stems from losing in the NBA Finals last year. Everything is in place for the Celtics. They have a great chance to be the last team standing if they don’t beat themselves with silly turnovers and a lack of execution late in games.