With the imminent departure of LeBron James from the Cavaliers this NBA offseason, it’s time for the Boston Celtics to truly rise in power in the Eastern Conference. After all, their two injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward should be back and ready to play when the 2019 season commences.
The Celtics already outdid themselves this year, managing to take LeBron and the Cavs to a Game 7 battle in the second round of the playoffs before bowing out. The team did it with a ragtag bunch of defense-oriented young players sans a solid superstar. Sure, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier provided some degree of offense, but it’s mostly the teamwork, the brilliant coaching, and the gritty defense that got them that far.
But next season’s sun should shine bright on Boston. Whether James eventually decides to stay in Cleveland or move to another team in the East like Philadelphia, he will have a hard time coming back to the biggest stage of professional basketball without a solid supporting cast. Boston’s cast is already complete, and what was lacking in offensive firepower should be quickly remedied by the return of Irving and Hayward. The Celtics are fast looking to be the team with the deepest bench next season.
Of course, the supporting cast’s experience in the recent playoffs will greatly figure as well in the Celtics’ 2019 campaign. The team will have a solid group of young playoffs veterans plus one with a championship ring in Kyrie Irving. Indeed, the decline in dominance of the Cavs, coupled with a complete Boston roster, should make the Celtics a dominant NBA franchise in the coming years.