The Boston Celtics can be proud for overcoming a slow start to last season and getting everything together to make a Finals run. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the charge, scoring the ball and impacting the game on defense as well. Of course, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Al Horford were critical pieces on the court as well. Together, the Celtics were a difficult team to score against, especially under head coach Ime Udoka.
But they faltered in the NBA Finals, and Boston might want to regroup and retool before going all-in in the 2023 season. For one, they could entertain a blockbuster deal that sends Jaylen Brown and a package of solid role players and picks to the Brooklyn Nets for a disgruntled star in Kevin Durant. That’s right, the Celtics should find a way to pry Kevin Durant from the grasp of the Nets to create a dynamic duo. Even if Durant said he wanted to stay, he could force his way to the NBA Finalist Boston Celtics.
Not to mention, the Celtics could form a tremendous lineup with a host of solid role players coming in the form of free agents. By acquiring a host of solid players coming in for free, Boston can create solid lineups with depth to form a powerful starting lineup and bench rotation. Boston needs a backup for Robert Williams, who will miss time with injury. The Celtics will also need to replace some pieces that they will lose in the Kevin Durant blockbuster deal. Here is the plan for the Boston Celtics to return back to the 2023 NBA Finals, and it starts with the acquisition of arguably the best player in the world, 4-time scoring champion Kevin Durant.
Acquire The Best Player In The Game
Trade Package: Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Grant Williams, 2025 First Round Pick, 2027 First Round Pick For Kevin Durant
Other than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is not available, the best player in the world is Kevin Durant. The superstar forward averaged 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG last season while shooting 51.8% from the field, 38.3% from three, and 91.0% from the free-throw line. Durant was on track to compete for the MVP award at the start of the year, but Brooklyn’s disastrous season was a result of Kyrie Irving’s unwillingness to take the covid vaccine and James Harden’s drama.
Next year, expect Kevin Durant to return with a vengeance and continue with his efficient self offensively. Whether he remains with the Nets or plays elsewhere, the forward will put up MVP numbers with ease as he is still in his prime. Durant will be an even more impactful player alongside Jayson Tatum, as both players will dominate the scoring end of the floor. Both players can average close to 30 PPG alongside each other, and their games are built on taking good shots, and neither are considered selfish players.
The Boston Celtics should make one of the biggest moves in NBA history to bring in Kevin Durant. Jayson Tatum is absolutely untouchable because of his elite scoring skill and ability to one day be a bonafide MVP contender every year. Importantly, it has to be mentioned that Kevin Durant is a better player than Jaylen Brown and can form arguably the most talented offensive perimeter duo in history alongside Jayson Tatum. The Celtics can also hold on to other key players, such as Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Robert Williams, and Malcolm Brogdon, who can be placed around the two superstars.
The best way for the Celtics to guarantee a return to the 2023 NBA Finals would be to acquire a top-two player in the world to pair with Jayson Tatum and a crew of defensive-minded players under an excellent head coach. With Durant on board, Boston Celtics have the first building block set to win it all in 2023.
Replace Key Role Players
2021-2022 Statistics: 6.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
With a career that has lasted 12 years so far in the NBA, Avery Bradley has played for a very long period. Bradley can be a hustle-first player for whatever club he plays since he is an effective defensive guard. Bradley produced 6.4 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 62 games while playing 22.7 MPG for the Lakers the previous season. He can produce comparable statistics for the Celtics in a shorter amount of time. The guard has also had some prior experience playing alongside other exceptional stars and superstars.
If the Celtics want to sign Avery, they will probably make a veteran's minimum offer, which the guard will probably accept. Bradley will be forced to hustle on defense because that is how he will earn playing time at the age of 31, and Ime Udoka wants players who will do that. Bradley can have an impact in the role he will be assigned, even though he hasn't scored at a double-digit clip since the 2018 season.
2021-2022 Statistics: 8.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Although Hassan Whiteside isn't the same player he was before inking a hefty contract with the Miami Heat, he can still routinely swallow rebounds and block shots. He has exceptional length, which he can exploit to make an impact in a small number of minutes off the bench. The center would be ideal for a team competing for the championship that requires center depth rather than a regular starter. But there is no denying that Whiteside can quickly capture a staggering amount of rebounds.
The Celtics need to add to their size depth, with Robert Williams III and Al Horford likely to miss time during the year due to attrition and age. Whiteside can legitimately average close to a double-double with the Celtics next year and also block some shots around the rim. Boston’s defense is extremely elite, and adding a 7-footer who can block shots would only improve that. Head coach Ime Udoka knows how to maximize defensive effort from his players, and Hassan could be another veteran who can accept a minimum deal to provide that energy.
2021-2022 Statistics: 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG
A former MVP candidate and bonafide All-Star, the forward averaged 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 0.8 BPG on 44.1% FG, 37.5% 3-PT FG, and 83.0% FT last year for the Los Angeles Lakers. Those are very solid numbers for a player that only made 3 starts in 69 appearances. As a 6th man, Anthony got his favorite role by coming in and hoisting shots up without conscious. That is why Carmelo has looked happy playing basketball again after years of being overlooked in the league.
It's crucial to keep in mind that Anthony is 38 years old, so expecting the same level of performance the next year would be a little harsh on the future Hall of Famer. Due to his exceptionally high basketball IQ, he can still average double-digit scoring, and the Celtics will need a player who can provide that intensity off the bench. In the NBA Finals last year, Boston may have benefited from an offensive player with more self-assurance as their offense occasionally sputtered. The Celtics can always count on Anthony to come out swinging.
2021-2022 Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG
LaMarcus Aldridge performed admirably in his few minutes of action with the Brooklyn Nets last season. The forward averaged good stats while playing 22.3 MPG and served as a reliable back-up for the Nets starters. Due to his offensive ability, Aldridge will always be able to score the ball, making him a welcome addition to a Celtics squad that could use more role players who can contribute in limited minutes at various points in the game.
Aldridge can sign for a veteran’s minimum contract because at age 37, with a career of playing with solid franchises, including the Portland Trail Blazers and especially the San Antonio Spurs. That is why he is a low-risk, high-reward option for Boston. Expect Aldridge to play 15-20 MPG on average if he does join the Celtics because starting center Robert Williams will likely be out for the first few weeks of the season to recover from injury.
Creating A Powerful Squad With Depth
Starting 5: Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Robert Williams
Best Players On The Bench: Payton Pritchard, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, Carmelo Anthony, Al Horford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Hassan Whiteside
Obviously, Boston’s starting lineup greatly improved with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon adds a natural playmaker to a team devoid of any real playmaking or point guard play, and Malcolm adds in solid defense at 6’5” and 229 lbs with solid quickness as well. Brogdon is also a very solid shooter, nailing over 38% from three over 4 of the 6 seasons he played in the NBA. Brogdon would have had a major impact in the 2022 NBA Finals had he been on the team, and we might have had a different NBA champion as a result. Next, the trade for Kevin Durant does not involve Marcus Smart.
Smart won Defensive Player of the Year last year and is one of the best defensive perimeter players in the NBA. One of two “point” guards to ever win the defensive award, Smart was incredibly impactful on defense and had the size and basketball IQ to be a factor. Marcus is invaluable for the Celtics, and he will hold the fort on defense while keeping the team’s identity on that end. Having a real playmaker alongside him will also open up Smart’s game a lot more as well.
Of course, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum form one of the most dominant scoring duos of all time. Durant was arguably the best player in the world last year alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and is still unstoppable when he gets his shot off. The former MVP award winner was unstoppable in creating shots from the perimeter, and he was also solid attacking the rim and finishing inside. Meanwhile, Tatum’s presence will make Durant even more impactful. The NBA better be aware if he does find himself in Boston alongside the No. 3 overall pick.
As great as Kyrie Irving is as a player, he is not on Jayson Tatum’s level because he does not have the height or size of the currency Celtics star. Tatum was dominant last year as well, posting 26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 4.4 APG. Jaylen Brown is an exceptional player, but he isn’t Kevin Durant, and having some more defensive attention off Tatum will unlock his power even more. Durant would also be the best teammate of Tatum’s career, and the best would be yet to come.
Finally, Robert Williams will be a force inside when he does return to the court. The big man is imposing around the rim in terms of shot-blocking and rebounding, and he brings elite size at 6’8” and 237 lbs, although his length takes him over 7 feet. He can leap, plays hard, and holds the fort on the interior. Backing him up is Al Horford, another elite defensive player who can shoot the three as well.
Horford will be the best player off the bench and can be expected to play 25 MPG at a minimum to have an impact. The former All-Star player was critical in Boston’s playoff run last year and can add a different dimension to the Celtics team alongside Williams or backing him up. Horford is also a veteran who will do nothing but improve tea chemistry as well. The new big man additions of Whiteside and Aldridge will also boost post depth. Aldridge is a player similar to Horford, and he can shoot the perimeter shot and also be a locker room leader. Whiteside will be a direct replacement for Williams when he is injured and can block shots at a very high level.
Payton Pritchard and Avery Bradley can defend, play hard, and can make outside shots when they are wide open.
In terms of guard depth, both players can do a job in limited spurts to rest the starting guards. No doubt, Bradley will be a key addition to replace the departed Derrick White. Danilo Gallinari will also be a solid pickup when he returns from his injury because he can space the floor at a high level when healthy. The Italian swingman can be a shot-maker when healthy, but he needs time to get back to form. Carmelo Anthony can go for one last title run at age 38, and joining the Boston Celtics and winning a championship would be an amazing way to ride off into the sunset. Anthony averaged 13.3 PPG last year and can be a shot-maker and shot-creator when he is on the floor as a backup to Tatum and Durant. No doubt, Anthony will be a positive addition when the Boston offense gets stagnant.
Boston Celtics Major Comeback To Win 2023 Finals
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's outstanding play on both ends of the floor, coupled with Marcus Smart and Al Horford's superior defense, were key factors in the Boston Celtics' demolition of the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs. The nucleus of the roster undoubtedly had an impressive season together, forcing the Golden State Warriors to a Game 6 before failing to force a Game 7. There is no denying that the Celtics' Finals defeat was painful because they came out as underprepared and immature against the Warriors. For starters, Golden State could not believe how frequently the Celtics hurt themselves on the court due to the atrociously high turnover rate.
Malcolm Brogdon was a huge addition, but even then, it must be mentioned that there are no guarantees that the Boston Celtics will make the NBA Finals again. They had a magical run last year, and everything worked perfectly for them to get where they went. Next year, the Milwaukee Bucks will be back healthy, and the Philadelphia 76ers improved their roster as James Harden becomes more familiar with the system. Not to mention, the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks will always be threats due to their All-Star talent. Boston needs to make a major move to get a step over these franchises, and Kevin Durant is arguably the best player in the world right now.
Brooklyn has made no secret that they want an All-Star to replace Durant along with other win-now players, and the Celtics package gives them that. Kevin Durant immediately becomes the best player on the Boston Celtics as he averaged 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG last year with the Nets while shooting 51.8% from the field, 38.3% from three, and 91.0% from the free-throw line. Those are superstar stats and numbers that indicate KD was arguably the best player in the world last year. At age 33 and going on 34, he has at least 2 more years at a superstar level.
Durant and Tatum will be impossible to defend against, and the rest of the roster is filled with two-way players and shooters, including Malcolm Brogdon, Danilo Gallinari, Al Horford, and Robert Williams. Boston might be the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference because a 4-time scoring champion in Kevin Durant takes them over the top. Winning an NBA championship isn’t easy, and nothing is guaranteed, which means going after arguably a top-15 player of all time should be a no-brainer for the Celtics, even if it means losing three core players.
Next, the addition of critical role players, including Hassan Whiteside, LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, and Avery Bradley, replaces the bench pieces that the Celtics will lose in the Kevin Durant trade. Carmelo can average at least 10 PPG in his sleep, Bradley can play defense and shoot the three decently well, and the bigs provide cover for Williams and Horford. Boston can have a solid rotation of shooters, defenders, and bigs that can provide big minutes throughout the year and into the playoffs.
With a deep rotation and the best duo in the NBA, the Celtics gain an advantage over the Bucks, who do not have Boston’s quality of talent. Miami does not either, and they cannot defend as hellaciously as the Celtics. The Philadelphia 76ers have Joel Embiid, but the big man is often injured, and James Harden is older and past his best from what we saw. Not to mention, the Toronto Raptors are not ready to win yet without a superstar, and the Chicago Bulls look to be nothing more than a second-round exit at best.
With Kevin Durant and incredible lineup rotation, the Boston Celtics are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and greatly tip the chances to reach the Finals in their favor. All the team needs to do is get back to the top, as anything can happen in a Finals series. In the Finals, they will learn from the 2022 Finals loss and be back smarter with a better squad. The Golden State Warriors won’t have the talent nor the size of the Celtics, and the Los Angeles Clippers will have chemistry issues to sort out with Kawhi Leonard needing time to get healthy. Of course, Chris Paul will be even older, and the Suns’ window could be closing. Overall, with the best player in the world on their team, the Celtics have the best chance to win the 2023 NBA Finals.