The NBA restart is rapidly approaching, and finally the airwaves are filled with regular-old sports content. Like, say, championship odds. Nick Wright had Antoine Walker on First Things First to discuss the likelihood the Boston Celtics can make a run and win the whole shebang down in Orlando.
Wright is not particularly bullish, slotting the Celtics at a precisely zero (0) percent chance to walk away as champs in the strangest season of NBA basketball to date.
Wright reasons that if the Lakers have a 62 percent chance, the Bucks have a 28 percent chance, the Rockets have a five percent chance, the Clippers have a four percent chance, and Philly has a one percent chance, that leaves Boston as the odd team out.
Wright is strangely low on the Clippers, considering they bested LeBron James' Lakers twice in the regular season. Putting the Rockets that high is bold considering what we've seen from them. Their permanent small-ball experiment worked in stretches, but was far from a dominant strategy. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are a pair of one-man wrecking crews with very little notable playoff success as individuals.
But a zero percent chance for Boston? C'mon now, Nick. They were the third-best team in the East when the season postponed and were one of the few teams in the entire league to give Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks real trouble, splitting the two games they played. They also stomped the Lakers once and then lost by one possession in their second matchup; they beat the Clippers in double OT just before the season was postponed and lost in OT earlier in the year.
Boston proved they belong among the upper tier of teams this year by beating the best. It's the only way to really judge who's got what it takes when it comes to making a title run. The Celtics' road is not easy. Wright is correct to believe that much. If the standings don't change, they'll go up against the Sixers in the first round and the Raptors in the second before theoretically taking on Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals. Both Philadelphia and Toronto gave Boston serious trouble in the regular season this year, Philly with their size and Toronto with their combination of wing skill and chemistry.
But to count them out completely because of the tough schedule is severely underestimating this team. They play up to their competition. It's nothing close to a sure thing they even make the Finals, much less win. But zero percent? I just don't know about that.