It’s pretty much inarguable that 1-10, the Celtics have a deeper roster right now than the Cavs. Cleveland’s been contains a bunch of fossils – Channing Frye is 34, Jose Calderon is 35, Kyle Korver is 36, and Richard Jefferson is 37. That’s not even counting Deron Williams who is 33, but looked 10 years older in the Finals.
Boston won 53 games last year when their best player was Isaiah Thomas; they should win more than that this season with Gordon Hayward in the mix. I believe the Celtics will seriously challenge the Cavs in the East, partially on the belief that LeBron turns 33 in December and eventually will lose his battle with Father Time, but also because if the opportunity presents itself, the Celtics can make a move for a big player at the NBA trade deadline because it has so many young assets and future draft picks. Las Vegas seems to disagree, as Westgate in Vegas released NBA Finals odds yesterday:
But if you were to rank the best players on the Cavaliers and Celtics, Boston looks stronger because its bench is so much younger and can play much heavier minutes if needed. Keeping in mind that the Celtics will have to move a couple players to make room for Hayward, guys like Kelly Olynyk (gone), Jonas Jerebko, Demetrius Jackson, Gerald Green and perhaps one other, here are the depth charts for the Cavs and Celtics:
Kevin Love/Channing Frye
LeBron/Kyle Korver/Richard Jefferson
JR Smith/Iman Shumpert
Kyrie Irving/Deron Williams
Boston has so many young assets, this could change by Halloween depending on which stashed players get called up:
Al Horford/Ante Zizic
Jae Crowder/Jayson Tatum
Gordon Hayward/Jaylen Brown
Avery Bradley/Terry Rozier
Isaiah Thomas/Marcus Smart
Because he’s hurt now, I’m not counting “French Draymond” aka Guerschon Yabusele.
Yes, the NBA is a star league, and the Cavs will have the two best players on the court in the series: LeBron and Kyrie. The coaching edge goes to Boston.
I’d consider the playoff series a toss-up right now.