Now 24 games into the season, the Boston Celtics are holding their own in a competitive Eastern Conference.
The C's (17-7) currently hold a fourth-place spot behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers. The play of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown -- along with the newfound team chemistry -- has inspired confidence in this year's squad. But what's the key to them establishing their dominance in the East?
One area the Celtics could look to improve is at the center position. Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love reportedly has been connected to the C's in trade discussions, but a deal seems unlikely. So assuming the C's don't make any additions, how can they compete with the Joel Embiids and Giannis Antetokounmpos of the world?
On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely explains how Boston's success down the stretch depends on the play of its current group of big men.
"For you to get out of the East, you have to look at the teams at the top and you're talking about Philadelphia, you're talking about Milwaukee, Toronto to an extent, Indiana," Blakely said. "You know that basically you can cobble together guys at that middle position that can hold their own against those guys. It's what can the Jaylen Browns, the Jayson Tatums, the Kemba Walkers... those are the guys that are your foundation -- Gordon Hayward. They have to carry you to success.
"If the guys at the center position can just hold their own, you don't have to be great -- you don't have to be all-world, you don't have to be able to dominate Anthony Davis anything like that, you just have to be solid and let those other guys handle their business. That can get you out of the East, but championship? I don't think so..."
Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin also discuss their confidence level in the Celtics this season, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's starts to the 2019-20 campaign, and much more.
Listen to the full episode below: