For years, the NBA’s Western Conference has dominated the Eastern Conference. The West perennially has the best teams at the top as well as superior low-end playoff teams. Over the last 12 seasons, the West has seen 10 teams with a record over .500 miss the playoffs while the East has seen 8 teams under .500 make the playoffs, a juxtaposition that tells the story of the disparity between the two conferences quite well. The Western Conference teams have won 14 of the last 21 NBA championships and have collectively bested the East teams in interconference play for a staggering 19 of the last 20 seasons. Clearly the West has had an advantage over the East, but that may be changing this year.
With almost a quarter of the NBA season in the books, we've got just enough of a sample size to make way too early All-Star game predictions. When it comes to the Celtics' guys, the question isn't whether or not one of them will make the game, but rather, how many of them will. Since the "Big 3" era, the Celtics have only had two players make the All-Star game in the same year once -- in 2017-2018 when Kyrie Irving and Al Horford both made it. This year, its starting to look like they'll have at least two players making the trip to Chicago that weekend, and the only question is which two it will be, and whether or not they can get a 3rd or 4th guy there as well.
Jayson Tatum’s breakout season is finally here! It feels somewhat awkward to be using the word “finally” in the context of talking about a third year-player, but for Tatum it seems somewhat justified. A disappointing year two for the Celtics young forward took the shine off of Tatum a bit and led many to question the legitimacy of Tatum’s “future star” status. It felt like Tatum was destined to breakout in his second NBA season, but fans had to sit through a sophomore slump before seeing Tatum blossom into the player he’s become in year three.
After taking losses in three of their last five games, Celtics fans can no longer tease the rest of the NBA community over things like being atop the league standings, or being the lone remaining one-loss team in the league. Currently, they sit at 12-4 -- tied with Miami and Toronto, and 1.5 games back of the 14-3 Milwaukee Bucks for the East lead. The struggling Sixers are right on their tail at 11-6, and are bound to figure things out themselves sooner rather than later. A 2-3 record on the Celtics' West Coast road trip has effectively served as a reminder that things can change quickly in the NBA, and while some of these early season games may not feel important at times, every one counts.
The opening month of the 2019-20 NBA season has given us some great basketball thus far. We’ve seen teams like the Suns, Mavericks, and Heat jump out to fast starts and surprise everyone, while other teams that were projected to be serious playoff contenders have struggled mightily out of the gate, like the Trail Blazers and Spurs. Outside of just team success (and failure) though, we’ve also witnessed some outstanding individual efforts from dozens of different players so far, culminating in an intriguing MVP race through one month.
Jayson Tatum has been hyped up incredibly since he has entered the league. There is no arguing that. Obviously, the majority of that hype coming via Celtics fans, but we all know plenty of the league is already sold on the idea that this kid is going to be a superstar. So again, there is no denying the hype. However, it’s one thing to acknowledge the hype and another thing to straight up deny the hype.
Last night the Celtics lost to the LA Clippers, a team that is considered a championship caliber team. The Celtics lost by just a sole possession in overtime. Sure, the loss stinks. We can all admit that. We'd rather a win. However, the social media reaction was pretty amazing all things considered and the outlook on the season somehow grew even more promising.
Re-drafts serve two main purposes: the opportunity to evaluate what teams would do differently if given the opportunity and to re-rank the players in each particular draft class. Unfortunately, team needs can’t be entirely ignored in re-drafts if they’re being done with logic in mind, but it only slightly impacts the exercise. To keep things simple, all the trades that happened on draft night will still happen even if it doesn’t make sense for the teams to execute the trade anymore. I don’t want to hear any “well, the Mavericks and Hawks would’ve never made that trade if Luka Doncic wasn’t available anymore.” That’s true, but it’s also trivial. Regardless of the means in which it happened, each team ultimately owned the picks they made and it will stay that way for this re-draft. Putting teams back in their original draft position is useless because even if those trades weren’t made anymore, some other unpredictable set of transactions would be. The order would still be wrong in this hypothetical alternate reality. With all that cleared up, here’s how the 2018 NBA Draft SHOULD’VE gone.
John Wall and Isaiah Thomas, now both on the Wizards, reminisce on facing off in their epic 7-game playoff series from 2017. The two point guards offer behind the scenes insight into the games and praise each other for their ridiculous performances. John Wall called it, "one of the best series in a long time".