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Hot Takes We May Actually Believe

The 2022-23 NBA season is just around the corner, and here comes the hot take SZN. At the end of another eventful offseason, we’ll see how close we get to the sun to see if we can withstand these perspective swells.

The rebuilt Boston Celtics were able to taste champagne five minutes after taking a 3-1 lead midway through the 2022 NBA Finals, but the Golden State Warriors turned the series upside-down to finish with Stephen Curry and the champions. Ship’s trickery cascades to victory in six games.

Four months later, the Celtics have crumbling experience and hunger on the game’s biggest stage, and the Warriors look to extend their reign for at least one more season.

Despite an unexpectedly turbulent offseason, the Celtics can build on last season’s momentum to deliver greater success against an Eastern Conference with only one truly terrifying playoff opponent. I have more compelling reasons to believe that It’s the opposite for the Warriors, who have re-formed and untested Depth balancing an aging core atop his charts and now boasting two reload contenders.

Boston Celtics case

The elephant in the Boston locker room is the suspension of 2022 Coach of the Year candidate Ime Udoka. Udoka shook the organization a few days ago, claiming that he used vulgar language in conversations with her female subordinates before he began an inappropriate work relationship with the woman. Start of training camp.

Udoka contributed to title contenders from a sub-. He was replaced by Mazura. His only experience as a head coach was at the NCAA Division II level.

Boston can either rally around an interim coach or fold in the face of a title shot. ‘s problem is not a problem they should fight. The possibility that the winning system and culture is on a solid foundation must be taken into account, and a new tweak from a coach acclaimed for match preparation could actually cause some improvement.

The continued progress of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown alone could fuel their rise. I have. Brown is hungry for all his NBA considerations. That gives him three benefits—revenge for stupidity in the Finals, elimination of trade speculation even for Kevin Durant, and securing a contract extension offer for Supermax.

Given their two-way ability in the game’s most coveted positions, Tatum and Brown are the NBA’s best young duo. They are two of his six players to earn All-Defense consideration last season on Boston’s roster, including Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and Second Team Center Robert Williams III. did.

The Celtics had the league’s best ERA (106.2 points per 100 possessions) last season and held that level against brutal playoff opponents. Williams’ second arthroscopic surgery in six months on his left knee is unwelcome news in that respect. Because his athleticism along the baseline adds a vertical threat to Boston’s switch plan. Considering how he limped to the finish line last season, recasting a resting Williams into the Christmas rotation might not be the worst idea either.

The August death of veteran Danilo Gallinari from ACL surgery dealt another blow to Boston’s regular-season ambitions. The Celtics granted him a mid-level exception, hoping his ability to spread the floor with various frontcourt capacities could ease the strain on Tatum and his 36-year-old Al Horford. If there is any consolation, Gallinari was more to keep the Celtics fresh for the playoffs than to be in the playoffs.

Boston hopes the combination of Grant Williams, Sam Hauser and recently signed Blake Griffin can fill up regular-season minutes instead. The Celtics have praised Hauser for his sharp shooting since signing him as an undrafted free agent last year. Only Williams is expected to earn playoff minutes, and he made it impressively in his third round of his season.

An injury to Robert Williams has temporarily left the Celtics thin at center, and Luke Cornette (who has already been out for a week or two with a sprained ankle) is the lone 7-footer on the roster. Two-way deal Mfiondu Kabengele might be the next best option to avoid overburdening Horford or relying too much on small-ball lineups.

Far more important than that is the addition of Malcolm Brogdon, arguably the biggest offseason upgrade for a top contender. Boston added him to his rotation of guards, which included Smart, Derrick his White, and Payton his Pritchard. It’s hard to imagine a more complementary backcourt for two elite wings. Guards can lock down the perimeter, and Brogdon brings another steady hand to the offense that was desperately needed when the game got tight. As he said at training camp, “I know what they lack and I know what I can offer.”

The turmoil they have experienced over the past month can be overcome when the Celtics hope to make an eight-man rotation of Tatum, Brown, Smart, Brogdon, White, Horford, Robert and Grant. , nothing may matter by the playoffs. Williams — A beautifully balanced depth chart that can score heavily and dominate defenses.

No Eastern team scares the Celtics who have yet to win. With a healthy Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks will once again be an absolute bear. The Brooklyn Nets are as combustible a candidate as they are in the league. The Miami Heat retreated and the Philadelphia 76ers advanced. Both should line up behind the Celtics at their best.

Then who? Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks? None of them have the playoff scars the Celtics earned in four conference finals appearances in the six years leading up to last season’s breakthrough.

Lawsuit Against Golden State Warriors

And no team in the NBA has more championship equity than the Warriors. The mettle of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is unquestionable. The trio as a whole have not lost a playoff series since 2014.

Curry is in his 14th year and championship windows are often closed for superstars forever. Thompson, meanwhile, has four more months off from 30 months missing with a torn Achilles tendon and a torn ACL. the other, He missed 30 months to Achilles tendon and ACL tears, and he will turn 33 in February. Green also missed the playoffs last season before regaining some respect in Games 5 and 6 against the Celtics.

Green, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are all eligible for contract extensions. No one has received it yet this offseason. According to The Athletic, Green can opt out at the end of the season and wants the maximum extension, which will cost him about $40 million at age 37. Thompson has another $43 million in a deal for next season. Wiggins, his second-best player for the Warriors in the Finals, is in the final year of his rookie extension, plus he’s set to sign a nine-figure deal. Poole could be a restricted-free agent after this season, Miami His Heat guard Tyler His hero, in four years he could have set a $130 million market there is.

The difference between Green, Wiggins and Poole compared to Brown, who owes $28.5 million in 2023-24, is that the Celtics position Brown to win his biggest deal. They want him to be a co-star. Wiggins and Poole are his third and his fourth choices behind Curry and Thompson, with Green doing the dirty work as a scoring supplement. The Warriors need them to roll his player and may not be willing to pay it all.

The Warriors know all too well how these scenarios can go bad. Durant’s imminent free agency in 2019 was the impetus for a midseason outburst with Green that ultimately led to Durant’s exit from Golden State. Attacking Poole “forcefully” on Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill reported that contract negotiations fueled brawls at practice.

With Curry as the face of the franchise, the Warriors survived Pat Riley’s so-called “more sickness” and resurfaced as a contender two seasons after Durant left, but they’re looking to extend this dynasty with a new cast of characters. Andre Iguodala has aged to the limit of his rotation. The other veterinarian is gone.

Similarly, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bierica and Juan Toscano-Anderson, who happily accepted roles last season and some made big contributions in the playoffs, left in free agency. . Next in line are recent lottery winners James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, all of whom he is under the age of 21. They have the potential to raise the ceiling for Golden State. They are also eager to establish his place in the NBA before his contract extension expires. This is a challenge beyond relying on inexperience.

Elsewhere on the roster is Kevon Looney. Kevon Looney recovered from tearing both of his hip labrums to play all 104 games with the Warriors last season. Donte di Vincenzo, who received no qualifying offers from either the Bucks or the Sacramento Kings. Jamaican Green had his 26.3% shooting percentage from distance last year.

I have questions about everyone on the roster except Curry, and he might be enough.

Still, this season’s playoff challenge is bigger than when the Warriors’ injury-devastated Denver Nuggets, (partially) Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies, and Luka Doncic’s one-man Dallas Mavericks tied in the Western Conference. It should be. Top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the process.

There will be at least two new contenders in the West this year. Led by his two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and his two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, respectively, with the healthy Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers. The New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves should also improve significantly. Doncic and Morant are experienced for his one season. And the Los Angeles Lakers, well… maybe they’re stronger.

The Warriors, like any championship they want, need a few things to work out for them this season. We need them. They need Wiggins and Poole to build their best season and keep their contracts free from distractions. They need second- and third-year players to become reliable playoff contributors.

So are the Celtics. They need a coach to keep them from feeling overwhelmed by the weight of expectations and controversy. They need Robert Williams to get back in shape by the playoffs. They need to ease the burden on the aging Horford. They need a guard to come with them. You need Hauser, Kabengele, Cornette, and Griffin to power up the end of your rotation. And they don’t need to be trampled by Antetokounmpo.

But the crux? Tatum and Brown are climbing. The Warriors’ core is looking to slow the descent.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer at Yahoo Sports. Any tips? Email or follow us on Twitter. Follow @Brobach

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