Earlier in the season, Paul Pierce made a statement on First Take saying that the Boston Celtics have the best starting five in the NBA. Pierce said this after the Lakers defeated the Celtics 114-112 back in February.
(Shoutout to the Truth himself for liking this tweet.)
Jayson Tatum erupted for 41 points that game without Kemba Walker in the lineup. This game happened about a month after Boston blew Los Angeles out at home by 32 points. Fans might remember this game after LeBron referred to Tatum as “an absolute problem.”
Fast forward to the end of June, and Paul Pierce still stands by his statement and believes the Boston Celtics have the best starting five in basketball.
Say what you want about Paul Pierce, the analyst, but this is probably one of his better takes. The Boston Celtics have a starting five that consists of two All-Stars, a fringe All-Star, a former All-Star who averages 17.3/6.5/4.1, and a center who does just about anything the team asks him to do. There’s no other starting five in the league that is stacked from 1-4 like Boston is.
You have the Clippers, who have gone with the starting lineup of Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Maurice Harkless, Kawhi Leonard, and Ivica Zubac for most of the season. They have PG13 and Kawhi, but besides those two, there isn’t much else. Pat Beverley is an in-your-face defender who will talk more than defend. The other two are just fillers for the starting lineup.
But, if we want to talk about the best roster in basketball, the Clippers got it. They could have the best starting five in basketball, but they keep Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell on the bench.
The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their starting lineup but are surrounded by role players like Avery Bradley, Danny Green, and Javale McGee. Bradley won’t even be in Orlando now, so that’s something the team’s going to have to figure out for the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Bucks have gone with the starting lineup of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Wesley Matthews, Brook Lopez, and Eric Bledsoe for 34 games this season. The Bucks have solid role players surrounding the reigning MVP and All-Star Khris Middleton, but none of them put up the same numbers or provide the same spark that the Celtics’ starting five does.
When the Celtics have a healthy starting five, they’re one of the toughest teams to beat in the entire league. The Celtics core five of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart were only active together for 13 out of the 64 games Boston played this season. The fact that Boston was still able to go 43-21 while currently sitting as the third seed in the Eastern Conference says a lot about this team. Being 100 percent healthy for the playoffs is so essential to Boston right now.
The Celtics have three starters who average over 20+ points a game, and there’s no other team in the league that can say the same. Gordon Hayward was playing like an All-Star right out of the gate before he got injured. Daniel Theis is an ideal center that does whatever the team asks of him.
The Boston Celtics do not have the best roster in the NBA. Their bench is the reason for that. The Celtics have dealt with numerous injuries all year long, which caused bench players, like Marcus Smart, to be inserted into the starting lineup and make the bench even more depleted.
Boston has two stars, and a third one that’s on his way up. Whether you’re a fan of the Celtics or not, it’s hard to think of a starting five that’s any better than theirs. The sky is the limit for this team when they’re all healthy. Just wait for the playoffs. Don’t sleep on the C’s.
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