The NBA’s 2022-23 season is approaching, but Hot Take SZN is here, and at the end of another eventful season we’ll see how close we can get to the sun and we can fly and still stand very hard on these views.
The rebuilt Boston Celtics could nearly taste champagne halfway through the 2022 NBA Finals, when they were five minutes away from leading 3-1, but Golden State Warriors Turn the series in favor of their dwindling bloodline with a mix of Stephen Curry And the cunning tournament, winning consecutive six games.
Four months later, the Celtics bring with them the experience and hunger that stems from their collapse at the biggest stage of the game, while the Warriors will attempt to extend their reign for at least another season.
In spite of unexpected disturbance, the Celtics have more compelling reasons to believe they can ride last season’s momentum to greater success against the Eastern Conference which has one truly intimidating opponent. The opposite is true for Warriors, who balance an advanced core atop a revised and untested depth chart in a Western Conference that now features two reloaded competitors.
The case of the Boston Celtics
The elephant in the Boston locker room is suspension For 2022, Coach of the Year nominee, Emi Odoka, who is allegedly “Rude language in his dialogue with a subordinate before starting an inappropriate relationship in the workplace with a woman“The organization shook just days before the start of the training camp.
Udoka was instrumental in the Celtics’ mid-season transformation from a sub-.500 team to the title favorite, both from a strategic standpoint and as the backbone of a team that lost ground. He replaced him with 34-year-old Joe Mazzola, whose only experience as a head coach was at the second level of the NCAA.
Boston can either wrap around their interim coach or withdraw in the face of a title shot, and early returns suggest they are in line with Mazola’s sober leadership through the turmoil. Udoka issues are not theirs to fight. We have to allow the possibility of the winning system and culture to be on solid ground, and new tweaks from a coach who has been praised for preparing him for matches could lead to some improvement.
Only the continued advancement of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown can accelerate their rise. Tatum is a bona fide MVP candidate, capable of leading the league in scoring and guarding at the All-Defensive level. Brown is thirsty to look at every NBA, which would serve him triple – revenge World Cup FinalsAnd the Eliminate commercial speculationEven for Kevin DurantAnd the Get a Super Max contract extension offer.
With their two-way abilities at the most sought-after position in the game, Tatum and Brown are the best young duo in the NBA. They were two of six players on the Boston roster to earn All-Defense status last season, including Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and second team center Robert Williams third.
The Celtics scored the highest defense rating in the league last season (106.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) and maintained that level against a tough list of playoff opponents. Having a second arthroscopic surgery on Williams’ left knee in six months is unwelcome news in that regard, as his athletic activity along the baseline adds a vertical threat to Boston’s switch scheme. It also might not be the worst idea to recast a relaxed Williams in rotation around Christmas, considering how he reached the finish line last season.
Veteran loss Danilo Galinari The ACL surgery in August is another blow to Boston’s regular season ambitions. By signing a mid-level exception, the Celtics team hoped that its ability to free up floor space in various capacities in the front yard would reduce the load on both the Tatum and the 36 Alhorford. If it’s any consolation, Gallinari was there to keep the Celtics fresh in the playoffs rather than in them.
Boston will hope to combine Grant WilliamsAnd the Sam Hauser And recently signed Blake Griffin You could eat those regular seasonal minutes instead. The Celtics have been applauding the shooting of Hauser since they signed him as an unpolished free agent last year. Griffin will break the glass in an emergency. Expected to earn only supplement minutes, Williams has filled it impressively through three rounds in his third season.
Robert Williams’ injury leaves the Celtics temporarily weak in the center, with Luke Cornett – already out 1-2 weeks with a sprained ankle – being the only seven-footed on the list. The two-way player Mfiondu Kabengele may be the next best option to avoid Horford’s fatigue and over-reliance on small ball formations.
Most important is the addition of Malcolm Brogdon, which is arguably the biggest off-season upgrade of any major competitor. Boston added him to a guard course that includes Smart, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard. It’s hard to imagine a more complete rear area for two elite wings. Rangers can seal off the perimeter, and Brogdon brings another steady hand to the attack that desperately needs one when games get tight. As he said at boot camp, “I know what they’re lacking, and I know what I can offer.”
The turmoil they’ve experienced over the past month can be overcome, and none of that matters in the playoffs, when the Celtics hope to take part in a rotation of eight players from Tatum, Brown, Smart, Brogdon, White, Horford, Robert and Grant. Williams – A wonderfully balanced depth schemer, capable of scoring in great numbers and dominating the defense. Promotions in the buyout and trade markets are also out of the question.
No team in the East to frighten the Celtics hasn’t already defeated them. The Milwaukee Bucks, with healthy Kris Middleton alongside Giannis Antetokounmue, will be an absolute bear again. The Brooklyn Nets are as flammable competitors as they are in the league. The Miami Heat retreated, and the Philadelphia 76ers advanced forward. Both should coordinate behind the Celtics at their best.
then who? Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers or Atlanta Hawks? None of them suffer from the playoff scars that the Celtics had from four conference finals in six years until the achievement last year.
The case against the Golden State Warriors
And no team in the NBA has more championship stakes than the Warriors. There is no questioning Hum Carrey, Clay Thompson and Draymond Greenwho have not lost a playoff series since 2014. When each is a triple.
Carrie enters Year 14, when Tournament windows are often closed forever to the stars. On the other hand, Thompson rested for four months after missing 30 months due to a torn achilles and anterior cruciate ligament tears. On the other hand, He missed 30 months due to a torn Achilles and anterior cruciate ligament tearsHe turns 33 in February. Green was unplayable at times in the playoffs last season, before saving some appreciation in games 5 and 6 against the Celtics.
Green, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are eligible for contract extension. No one has received one yet this off season. Green can opt out at the end of the season and wants a maximum extension that will pay him nearly $40 million at age 37, According to The Athletic. Thompson has another $43 million in his deal next season. Wiggins, the Warriors’ second-best player in the Finals, is in the final year of his junior extension and is in line with another nine-figure deal. Paul could become a restricted free agent after this season, and Miami Heat guard Tyler Hero may have just defined his market. $130 million over four years.
The difference between Green, Wiggins and Poole compared to Brown, who owes $28.5 million in 2023-24, is that the Celtics will put Brown in a position to earn his maximum deal. They want him to be a co-star. Wiggins and Poole are the third and fourth choices behind Curry and Thompson, and Green does the dirty work as a scoring afterthought. Warriors need to be role players and May not be willing to pay them all.
Warriors know all too well how these scenarios can exacerbate. Durant’s impending free agency in 2019 was a reported driving force Mid-season explosion in green – And the In the end, Durant exited Golden State. Three years later, Green didn’t wait until mid-season to hit Paul”StronglyOn Wednesday, when Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill reported it Contract negotiations fueled disagreement in practice.
With Carrie as the face of the franchise, the Warriors survived the so-called Pat Riley.more sick“To re-emerge as competitors two seasons after Durant’s departure, but they are trying to extend that strain with a new set of characters. Andre Iguodala has advanced to the fringes of their rotation. And the other vets have gone.
Similarly, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bellica and Juan Toscano Anderson, all of whom willingly accepted last season’s roles and some of whom made major contributions in the playoff, have left in free agency. Next in line are James Wiseman, Jonathan Kominga and Moses Moody who were recently picked in the lottery, all aged 21 or younger. They have the potential to raise the Golden State ceiling. They are also eager to establish themselves in the NBA before their extensions come, a challenge beyond relying on their inexperience.
Elsewhere on the list is Kevin Looney, who bounced back from tearing guts at both hips to play all 104 Warriors games last season; Donte DiVincenzo, who did not receive a qualifying bid from the Bucks or the Sacramento Kings; and JaMychal Green who shot 26.3% from distance last year.
There are questions about everyone on the list except Carrie, and he might be enough on his own.
However, the playoff challenge should be even greater this season than last season, when the Warriors drew with the injury-ravaged Denver Nuggets, Ja Morant (in part) Memphis Grizzlies and one-man Luka Doncic that featured the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference, the top seed Phoenix Suns. in the process.
This year brings no less than two new contenders to the West – the Healthy Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers, led by two-times straight MVP Nikola Jokic and two-time finalist Kohi Leonard. New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves should also be greatly improved. Doncic and Morant one season more experienced. And the Los Angeles Lakers, well… they’re probably more powerful.
The Warriors, like any tournament they hope for, need a few things to break right this season. They need Carrie, Thompson and Greene to stay healthy and viable into their mid-30s. They need Wiggins and Poole to build their best seasons and not allow their contracts to become a distraction. They need second- and third-year players to become dependable contributors. And the West is still tougher to win.
The same goes for the Celtics. They need their coach not to be overwhelmed by the weight of expectations and controversy. They need Robert Williams to get back into shape in the playoffs. They need to lighten the burden on elderly Horford. They need their guards to meet en masse. They need Hauser, Kabengele, Kornet, and/or Griffin to fortify the end of their turn. And they don’t need to be trampled by Antetokounmpo.
Essence, though? Tatum and Brown are on their way to climbing. The heart of the warriors is trying to delay his descent.
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