ESPN Insider thinks Celtics could win a playoff series
ESPN Insider has been pro-Celtics lately, so let's continue to ride that wave as the summer heats up and the NBA rumor mill slows down.
In an article previewing Eastern Conference's title contenders, Kevin Pelton sees the Celtics not only as a likely playoff team, but a team he thinks could make some noise during the postseason. He has the C's slotted alongside the Hawks, Bulls, Heat, Raptors, and Wizards as the tier well below reigning East Champs the Cleveland Cavaliers, but above other young teams like the Bucks and Magic.
Consider the Celtics a sleeper to claim home-court advantage and/or win a playoff series. Boston had the East's second-best record (20-11, .645) and fourth-best point differential (plus-2.9 PPG) after acquiring Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline. While the Celtics didn't land a star this summer, the addition of veteran Amir Johnson strengthens their biggest weakness, interior defense.
Home court advantage? Winning a playoff series? Statistics that back up those claims? Thanks Kevin Pelton. Sometimes when you're deep in the dog days of August you need some unbridled optimism to power you through the NBA offseason. Sure we didn't get a star, but if Pelton's on the money here and we do win a playoff series without one? Expect marquee free agents to give the Celtics and Brad Stevens a long look next summer when Danny Ainge has all of the cap space.