Can The Boston Celtics be the Eastern Conference Version of The Warriors?
By: Trevor Keyes
The Boston Celtics won the Eastern Conference Championship beating the Miami Heat in Game 7 to set up a Finals Matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, one team is on the west coast & the other is on the east coast, but these teams have been constructed in very similar ways……The NBA draft.
When Golden State first jumped on to the scene back in 2012–2013, they had a young & unknown core (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, drafted in the years 2009–2012). A core who managed to win 47 games and get to the Western Conference Semis that year. There was hope for this team. Let’s move the clock forward 10 years later. 3 Championships, 6 overall Finals appearances, and that once uncertain core, eventually became one of the greatest trios in NBA history. Before all the pageantry though, they had to make a tough decision and cutting ties with Head Coach Mark Jackson and hired former player Steve Kerr. A move at the time that looked confusing, but ultimately was the right decision.
Like the Warriors big 3, the Celtics have their own version of a big 3. A big 3 that started back in 2014 NBA draft, when they drafted PG Marcus Smart 6th overall, followed by Jaylen Brown 3rd overall in the 2016 draft, and Jayson Tatum 3rd overall in the 2017 NBA draft. With those selections, they’ve become one of the most formidable trios in the current league. Like the Warriors, the Celtics had their own issues in not getting over the hump. With “tough thinking, comes tough decisions”, and former head coach Brad Stevens moved to a front office position as President of Basketball Operations. In replacement was former player & former assistant coach, Ime Udoka. Just like the Warriors switching from Jackson to Kerr, the Celtics switching from Stevens to Udoka has pay dividends to the franchise.
Yes, both teams have 2 dominant trios, but they both come with great supporting casts who are also homegrown talent (Celtics, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, & Payton Pritchard) & (Warriors, Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, and Jonathan Kuminga.) On top of that, they also have that veteran presence like (Celtics, Al Horford, Derrick White, and Daniel Theis) & (Warriors, Andrew Wiggins, Otto Porter Jr, & Nemanja Bjelica).
It took time for both franchises to get going, but with a few moves in the front office, and hitting on many selections in the NBA draft, these 2 teams are now 4 wins away from calling themselves NBA Champions. Yes, the NBA is all about paying the big bucks for superstars, but let’s not forget that drafting a culture and identity means more than anything, and both these teams have that. The Warriors Up tempo offense vs the Celtics tenacious defense shapes up for a thrilling Finals. The Warriors have dominated on the West Coast for over 10 years due to drafting right and creating a culture. Can the Celtics replicate that on the East Coast? Time will tell, but if history repeats itself, the Celtics will be in good hands for years to come.