The Boston Celtics are coming off one heck of a 2017/18 season. And Jaylen Brown, who is coming off an excellent sophomore season in his own right, only sees better things on the horizon.
Last season, Boston lost free agent signing Gordon Hayward for the season after just a few minutes of in-game action. They won 55 games anyway. Kyrie Irving didn’t play a minute in the playoffs. They got to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals anyway. After joining the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James is now out of the picture. The Philadelphia 76ers cannot be dismissed in their chase for the top spot, but neither can the Toronto Raptors. After all, they have Kawhi Leonard now.
But per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, Brown sees no scenario in which the Celtics DON’T reach the NBA Finals.
“Oh, we’re getting to the Finals. No question about it,” Brown says. He does not appreciate the LeBron talk much, however.
“I hate how everybody is like, ‘Oh, LeBron’s gone in the East,’” he continues. “I know he did have a strong hold on the East for the last seven years, but he barely got us out of there this year. And our mindset was like, ‘Man, he’s not beating us again.’”
It’s one thing to have that mindset; it’s another matter entirely to actually have to deal with the man in question. The simple fact of the matter is that the Celtics don’t have to deal with LeBron anymore. That makes taking the East much easier for them. The Cavaliers weren’t the best team in the Eastern Conference last season. They only got as far as they did because of LeBron. It’s that simple.
And now the conference is Boston’s for the taking. Still, Brown stresses composure as they near another season.
“It’s important for us to stay grounded and just continue to play ball. Continue to play the way we played this past season. … We got like a lot of — we got a lot, a lot of talent on this team. And we’ve got some real good mindsets, and it’s a pleasure playing with them all. But we have to be on one page if we want to be successful.”
He’s not wrong. But with that talent and head coach Brad Stevens roaming the sidelines, something tells us the Celtics will have it all figured out on opening night.