Boston Celtics No. 1 in NBA’s offseason power rankings; No. 2 in The Athletic’s

The Boston Celtics are held in high regard by some of the more popular NBA offseason power rankings out there, checking in from the top spot of the league’s own 2022 offseason power rankings, and just one slot shy of pole position in The Athletic’s offseason power rankings.

The Celtics will return almost all the players who saw postseason minutes in the 2022 NBA Playoffs in a run that saw them fall two wins shy of a championship against the Golden State Warriors and have since added veteran forward Danilo Gallinari in free agency while trading for Indiana Pacers floor general Malcolm Brogdon.

Let’s take a look at the two assessments of the Celtics mentioned above.

NBA.com

“The team that won the Eastern Conference has three starters who will be 25 or younger on opening night (Brown turns 26 less than a week later),” writes NBA.com’s John Schuhmann.

“So, there’s plenty of reasons to (hesitate on a Durant trade and) believe that the Celtics will be better with continued growth from the young guys. They struggled out of the gates last year, but should hit the ground running in coach Ime Udoka’s second season on the bench. And it bears repeating just how dominant this team was once it figured things out (and got healthy): The Celtics outscored their opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions, ranking first on both ends of the floor, over their final 35 games.”

“It’s possible that Brown’s ball-handling doesn’t get much better, but Brogdon obviously takes some of the playmaking burden off the shoulders of the young stars while fitting into Boston’s drive-and-kick offense,” adds the NBA.com analyst.

“He averaged almost six more drives per game (18.3) than anybody on the Celtics and had the lowest turnover rate on drives (4.2 per 100) among 42 players who averaged at least 10 per contest,” Schumann notes.

“The Celtics’ clutch offense issues were seemingly more about approach than just makes and misses, but Brogdon has shot 32-for-84 (38.1%) on clutch 3-pointers (sixth best among 64 players with at least 75 attempts) over the last five years (including playoffs).”

“You can’t blame a team for wanting Durant, but if the Celtics keep what they have, they certainly look like the best team in the East again,” he closes.

The Athletic

“The Boston Celtics will have to worry about the availability of Brogdon,” suggests The Athletic’s Zach Harper. “He hasn’t been reliable in years when it comes to staying on the court.”

“But considering what the Celtics gave up in exchange for Brogdon to join the squad, it was a no-brainer. When he’s available to play, he gives them one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. Coming off an NBA Finals appearance, Brad Stevens made the team better. And maybe they even keep trying to get Kevin Durant? What will be interesting is the effect of reports continuing over the years of Jaylen Brown being dangled to acquire superstars.”

“It happened with Danny Ainge, and it’s happening with Stevens,” reminds The Athletic analyst.

“You can make an argument for keeping this core together after the first-year run under Ime Udoka,” he adds.

“You can make an argument for getting someone like Durant even if it means giving up Brown. The Celtics aren’t just assuming they remain the best team in the East because they made the finals.”

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire