The Celtics and 76ers are both grinding through the playoffs currently. It’s honestly shocking that both teams are having any success this postseason. The Celtics 2 best players, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, are injured and missing the entire playoffs. As a result, they’re being led by proven veteran Al Horford and young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. For the Sixers, they have no injuries and are still being led by 21 year old Ben Simmons and 24 year old Joel Embiid. Giannis Antetokoumpo is another guy that is ridiculously young and has an amazing future in this league with the Bucks. One of these three teams led by dudes who are stupidly young will be in the Eastern Conference Finals of these 2018 playoffs.
The Celtics Future is Star-Studded and Ridiculously Deep
Every time somebody discusses the Celtics and a trade they mention the word “assets”. The Celtics have the most assets in the league whether it’s their plethora of draft picks or talented and desirable players such as Rozier, Smart, Brown, and Tatum. Boston could reasonably make a good deal for either Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard. Although I think it would be a lousy decision for them to break up that chemistry that the young core has developed over this season. These assets already have incredible talent and an average age of 22 amongst the four of them.
Outside of those young guys, they have proven all-stars too with Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. Kyrie has hit one of the clutchest shots in NBA history against the Warriors to give the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship a few years ago. Gordon Hayward had been the leader of the Utah Jazz for 7 years prior to joining the Celtics and has yet to grow with a winning system. Al Horford led Atlanta for 9 years before signing with the Celtics and has already shown immense veteran leadership in his two years under Brad Stevens.
With the mix of proven leaders and up-and-coming leaders the Celtics display, they have 5 to 7 guys who can take over any game whenever they’d like to. Most teams are lucky to have 2 guys who can do such a thing. The most exciting part is, we’ve only seen 5 minutes with all of these guys together. Next season and for years to come should be very exciting for Boston fans.
The 76ers might End Up with the Best 1-2 Punch of All Time
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are already a deadly combo. When both are healthy and playing together almost no team has an answer for it. I mean Simmons is a 6’10” point guard who can match up with every position on the court. Not ideal for defenders. He has the quickness to get by bigs and the height to score over guards. Ben Simmons is only 21 and he already looks like he’s the next Lebron James. High praise, but proper praise for what he’s proven thus far. Joel Embiid can bully any defender in the paint and can shoot a three with the best of them. Markelle Fultz, their number 1 overall pick from 2017, is finally showing some potential to be a decent player as well after a horrendous and confusing season. These young guys will be difference makers for years to come.
With all of their key players being very young and still on rookie contracts, it opens up the room to sign other stars on expensive contracts. Before this current season, the Sixers flexed their surplus of money by signing JJ Redick to a ridiculous 1 year deal worth 23 Million. They hope to be able to sign a more notable free agent this upcoming offseason, maybe by the name of Lebron James. But they could honestly afford any player or combinations of players they want to. They should seriously consider a package for Kawhi Leonard if he becomes available. This team with a star scoring wing could be a team for the ages.
So, Which Team has the Brighter Future?
Both the Celtics and Sixers have incredibly bright futures. These teams debatably have the brightest futures of any team in the league east or west. Picking the team with the brighter future is like picking Coke or Pepsi, it’s practically the same. I’m picking the Boston Celtics for one fact only. The Celtics have the young talent and signed/traded for the proven talent whereas the Sixers have the young talent, but still need to acquire those proven stars to give them the edge over Boston. Nonetheless, for the next 4-8 years we should expect it to be Celtics or 76ers representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)