Even though they lost the NBA championship to the Golden State Warriors in six games, the Boston Celtics‘ prospects seem to be bright at first glance.
After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals three times in a four-year span, they had finally made it to the NBA Finals, and with a largely young team, there should be room for improvement.
However, the thing with room for improvement is that it usually means a team has deficiencies that are preventing it from getting to the mountaintop.
In the case of the Celtics, those deficiencies have a good chance of preventing them from even getting back to the championship series next season.
Right now, if one had to bet on Boston or the field to reach the 2023 NBA Finals, it would be wise to bet on the field.
The Celtics Need More Offense
Brown played rather well versus Stephen Curry and company, averaging 23.5 points a game.
Tatum, on the other hand, was rather awful.
Jayson Tatum is the first player in NBA history with 100 turnovers in a single postseason. pic.twitter.com/Jd7PKvYHCJ
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 17, 2022
He shot just 36.7 percent in the Finals, and he shot under 43 percent in five of the six contests, which is proof that he is not quite a superstar yet.
Tatum has proven that he is capable of going off on any given night and bailing out his team, but he still has the inability to consistently string together consecutive great performances, especially in terms of his shooting efficiency.
The Warriors exposed the Celtics as largely being a two-horse gang on offense.
Guard Marcus Smart played well, but overall he is an inefficient player who is not a major, consistent scoring threat, and Boston’s bench looked woefully weak.
Defense is still the key to winning championships, despite those who erroneously claim that no one plays defense anymore in today’s NBA, but offense is equally important, and a team cannot win a world championship in this day and age without being great at both ends.
The Celtics need more role players who will contribute offensively, and a legitimate third scorer would also go a long way in bolstering their chances of winning their 18th NBA title.
Biggest Problem Next Year May Not Be Themselves
Even if Boston goes out and makes the improvements it needs to get over the hump, it still may not be good enough.
That’s because their biggest threat to returning to the Finals comes in the form of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks won it all last year, and this year, many feel if Khris Middleton didn’t hurt his knee in the opening round of the playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmpo and company would’ve knocked off the Celtics in the second round.
The Boston Celtics woke up feeling dangerous 🥵🥵🥵
– series win against a fraudulent nets team, featuring fashion model Ben Simmons 🎪🎪🎪
– beating the Bucks without Khris Middleton?? 🤪🤪🤪🤪
– Losing to Chef Ayesha Curry on 6? 😂😂😂
Looks like a fraudulent finals run
— need the brewers 2 stop playing like circus clowns (@Wyomingmlbnews) June 17, 2022
The Bucks simply have a more well-rounded team, as they possess three legitimate scorers, and Antetokounmpo is clearly not only better than Tatum, but he is arguably the best player in the world.
One would expect Milwaukee to come into next season hungry after losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Celtics, and that may be the edge it needs to achieve a return to glory.