Celtics Favorites to Win it All?
The 2023 NBA Season started 2 weeks ago and the Celtics wasted absolutely no time picking up from last year's success. They have jumped out to a 7-3 start with their only losses coming to the Cavs and Bulls who are both playoff teams as well. They are tied for the #4 seed in the entire league and are tied for the best odds to win the NBA Championship this year at +500 with the Bucks.
Jayson Taytum is again improving and has started out this season as well as anyone in the league. He currently leads the team in points per game, rebounds per game and blocks per game. He is also second on the team in assists per game and steals per game only behind Marcus Smart. Taytum's stats are 30.1, 7.4, 4.0, .8 and 1.4. These are MVP numbers and if Taytum can heat up towards the All-Star break like he normally does, the 24-year old will be right there for the award.
The team's success is somewhat unprecedented as they are under the tutelage of their 3rd head coach in as many seasons. An early team scandal shelved Ime Udoka for the season as he served a suspension for breaking team policy surrounding in-house relationships. New head coach Joe Mazzulla, who himself is from Rhode Island by way of Bishop Hendricken has done a great job of righting the ship, and keeping this unit together in the team-first mentality that makes them so dangerous.
This Celtics team is truly one of the most complete and deep in the entire league. Their starting 5 of Smart, White, Brown, Taytum and Horford have one of the highest assist-ratios in the league. They also have a league-high 11 players with over 10 minutes per game.
The Celtics are the best 3-point shooting team in the league, with a league-high 15.5 made per game on a 5th best 39%. They have used a spread method with their shooting, with no one besides Taytum taking more than 7.5 per game.'
With Taytum leading the charge and above average talent littered through the 2-8 players on this team including Jaylen Brown at 24.2 points per game and 6 players above the league's starter-average of 17.3 Player Efficiency Rating, this team is terrifying to see if you're playing them.
The Celtics made it to the first round of the playoffs and were ousted by old nemesis Kyrie Irving and the Nets. Going into the offseason with a bitter taste in their mouths seems to have jolted this team into the urgency they've needed. The team is playing with anger and passion, while playing smart, team basketball. This makeup is so dangerous especially when built around two top plyers who haven't even hit their prime years yet.
They currently sit at +500 odds to win the title along with the 9-1, reigning champion Bucks.
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Make sure to stay tuned as we continue coverage of the 2022-23 NBA Season and the Boston Celtics.