The NBA playoffs will get underway in just over a week and there are three teams packed in at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture that the Celtics may have some real trouble with.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards are all possible playoff matchups for Boston and each one poses some big problems for the C’s. The question is, which team is the biggest threat to upset our beloved Celtics?
Milwaukee boasts length and athleticism all over their roster and the epitome of those two words is their best player, Giannis Athajgovehfuqhrwhg (not attempting to spell that last name). The 6 foot 11, 222 lb. forward can do it all on the floor and has made the leap as one of the game’s top players. There is no one like him in the NBA with his combination of size and skill. He really is a true unicorn and I don’t know what exactly Boston could do to hold him down.
Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon are all impressive players that can make so many things happen. Then you’ve got role players like Thon Maker, John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova and Brandon Jennings. Henson and Maker bring length in the lane while Delly brings the #grit and fighting spirit a team needs to win. Jennings can’t quite fill it up like he used to, but he’ll get his.
The one thing I’d like about facing them is their lack of experience in the playoffs. I don’t know if they are on that level yet where they could truly finish off a series against a team like the Celtics. They’ll compete though, don’t doubt that. I’d just be worried about how this team can match up and run while creating havoc on both ends of the floor. Plus, if Boston is without Kyrie, The Greek Freak is far and away the best player on the floor.
With Miami, there are no inexperience issues. This team isn’t scared of Boston (or maybe anyone) and that should scare us as fans. No matter how much D-Wade has lost and no matter the roster looks like, I’ll always be worried about the Heat. They are just one of those teams in sports that you can’t discount. To be honest, they’ve got some good players too. Wade has given them a shot in the arm and is the perfect guy to lead Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow etc. They’ve got a few absolute bums, but they’ll step up and go toe-to-toe with the C’s.
Lastly, we’ve got the Washington Wizards. Yep, the team that might be the Celtics chief rival in terms of actual beef. They gave Boston all they could handle last year and Kelly Olynyk had to win Game 7 for the Celtics to advance (I know, it’s not the same Celtics team but still). They don’t have a Giannis, but they also have way more star power than the Heat do. With John Wall and Bradley Beal, you’ve got two of the top 25 players in the league, I’d say. Throw in Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter and the OTHER Morris twin and you’ve got a solid go-to group. I just think their depth sucks. They’ve got a few too many scrubs. I’m not saying I want to play them by any means though. They are battle-tested and have been in a lot of big playoff matchups. They’ll show up big time and give Boston all they can handle.
So how would I rank these teams from “easiest” matchup to toughest? Well…
“Easiest”- Miami (just to be clear, not easy)
Middle- Milwaukee (What I don’t know scares me)
Do Not Want- Washington (Without Kyrie I would be very worried)
I would say that we should keep our fingers crossed for things to go a certain way, but honestly all of these teams will be tough. Let’s just hope Kyrie gets healthy sooner rather than later.