In 2018, The Celtics were a few minutes away from riding their surging young core past the Cleveland Cavaliers into a finals matchup with The Golden State Warriors. LeBron James would pull another triple-double to rob us of this potential matchup. Looking to 2020, we could very well see both the Celtics and Warriors square off with similar teams to what they had in 2018.
Why They’ll meet in The Finals
The Warriors possess a distinct advantage in that they experienced the least turnover in the Western Conference. They have essentially the same roster they had when they won two championships. The Celtics have an advantage in that they have a revamped version of their 2018 squad, featuring All-Star Kemba Walker. Both teams also have top-5 coaches in Brad Stevens and Steve Kerr. The free agency that severely altered the league has put both these teams into a great position to make a run in the playoffs.
What’s changed for the Celtics?
The Warriors had won the NBA title in 2018 after Boston failed to get past Cleveland to meet them there. However, now they are in a position to make it happen. For starters, both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have grown. With Tatum in his third year and Brown in his fourth, both the young wings have the experience and minutes to flourish as a duo. Kemba Walker replaces Terry Rozier from the 2018 squad, bringing All-Star scoring and important leadership ability. The Celtics will have a healthy Gordon Hayward off the bench, who was lost six minutes into the 2017-18 season. Boston also brings a solid draft class of young talent who fit coach Brad Stevens’ team-oriented system better than Marcus Morris or Kyrie Irving.
Why we want to see it
Many people did not want to see Golden state and Cleveland face off for another consecutive year. The super-team Warriors versus a young, upstart Celtics team would’ve provided a more entertaining series, even if Boston didn’t prevail. This year, Golden State returns a slightly different but deeper team then 2018. They have good odds of getting to the Finals again, with only the Clippers as true competition. The Celtics will have to best the likes of Philly, Milwaukee, and Toronto, but now look more like that same group of upstarts, except younger and more hungry. Boston was expected to cruise to the Finals last year, until they fell apart in the second round. They have a chip on their shoulder, and fully expect to stand opposite of GSW when the NBA Finals roll around in 2020.