Celtics

SI's Top 100 list highlights the Celtics depth

SI's Top 100 list highlights the Celtics depth

 

 

The Sports Illustrated’s list of the Top 100 players in the NBA is a great discussion starter for those of us who are anxiously awaiting the start of the regular season.

Phoenix guard Devin Booker, one of the best pure scorers in the game, coming in (only) at No. 50?

Toronto backup Fred VanVleet (No. 94) ranked ahead of Dirk Nowitzki (No. 96)?

While there’s plenty of debate about where players are stacked on the list, the one thing that is clear.

The NBA is in great shape talent-wise for many years to come, with several players just a few years into their careers on the list.

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And one of the teams with lots of on-the-rise-talent is the Boston Celtics, who have six players on the Top-100 list (and they really should have had a seventh with Marcus Smart).

But none of the six Celtics will be in the top-10, with the highest ranked player being Al Horford (No. 16) who came in one spot ahead of teammate Kyrie Irving (No. 17).

The only team that will have that many players when the list is completely revealed, is Golden State which currently has four players on the list.

SI’s Top 10 has yet to be revealed, but it’s a given that both Steph Curry and Kevin Durant will be there. Others likely in the top 10 include Houston’s James Harden and Chris Paul; Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James; Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo; Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid; Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook; New Orleans’ Anthony Davis; and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler.

The idea that the Warriors would have so many players on the list, is no surprise.

They’re the two-time defending NBA champions, having taken home the Larry O’Brien trophy in three of the last four seasons with the same core primarily intact aside from the addition of Durant two years ago.

He helps.

Golden State is the standard by which all teams in the NBA are measured against, the blueprint for what every team is trying to build.

And as you look across the NBA landscape, no one right now has done a better job of building themselves in the mirror image of the Warriors than the Celtics.

Boston has added elite scoring power with trading for Irving and signing Gordon Hayward who despite missing all but five minutes of last season, came in at No. 25 on the list. Boston has the game’s ultimate glue-guy in Horford. There’s young depth on the rise such as Jayson Tatum (No. 39), Jaylen Brown (No. 47) and Terry Rozier (No. 82) who all cracked the Top 100 list.

It is that kind of elite, well-respected depth that gives Boston and its fans every reason to be optimistic that they can get to the NBA Finals and hold their own against the basketball juggernaut known as the Golden State Warriors.

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Warriors become second team in NBA history to make five consecutive Finals since Bill Russell's Celtics

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Warriors become second team in NBA history to make five consecutive Finals since Bill Russell's Celtics

After sweeping the Blazers Monday night to advance to their fifth straight NBA Finals, they joined Bill Russell's Celtics as the only teams to make five in a row. 

The Warriors will look to win their fourth championship in five years and join an elite club of teams to complete a three-peat. 

From 1957-66, the Celtics won nine NBA titles, including a run of eight consecutive championships from 1959-66. The Warriors will have a tough time accomplishing that feat, but they are arguably the greatest dynasty since the Russell era. 

Along with their series win, the Warriors also passed the Bulls on the all-time list for Finals appearances for a single franchise with seven. The Lakers (31) and Celtics (21) are the only teams ahead of them. 

Golden State will await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Bucks and Raptors. Milwaukee currently holds a 2-1 series lead ahead of Game 4 in Toronto. 

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Dwyane Wade breaks silence on Paul Pierce debate, takes high road

Dwyane Wade breaks silence on Paul Pierce debate, takes high road

Everyone seemed to have a take on the Paul Pierce vs Dwyane Wade debate, except Wade himself. 

On Sunday night, the Miami guard finally broke his silence in response to a fan on Twitter. 

The debate started when Pierce claimed he had a better career than Wade towards the end of his final season in the NBA. Intense internet debate followed, while most fans did their best to tear down the accomplishments of either player. 

Pierce said the debate didn't bother him, but former teammate of both players, Ray Allen, was disappointed with how it manifested because it allowed people to take away from what Piere accomplished in his career. 

Wade seemed to take the high road with his response, so hopefully, that puts an end to all of the madness. Both players will be first-ballot Hall of Famers, and their rivalry proved to shape the landscape of what the NBA is today. 

Unfortunately for some, one of them has to be overrated for the other's status to be solidified. 

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