ESPN Ranks Boston As the 7th Best Team Ahead of NBA’s Restart

The ever so controversial ESPN has released their rankings of teams heading into NBA’s restart. Leading the charge, they have Milwaukee and both teams in Los Angeles, which should be expected. ESPN then lists Toronto, Denver, and then Miami ahead of Boston at seven. Houston, Dallas, and Philadelphia rounded out the top ten.

Every media site is going to have their opinions and their own rankings of which NBA teams are better than the others, and that’s fine. Every media site has to have different rankings so they can separate themselves from each other. They come out with these lists to create controversy and get people like me to talk about it. And here I am talking about ESPN’s rankings because I have a problem.

Since when did the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets become better than the Boston Celtics? This is a serious question because the last time I checked the Celtics were a top-5 team in the NBA. Boston has the fifth-best record in the entire league and ranks top-5 in both offensive and defensive rating. Both Miami and Denver don’t even crack the top-10 in defensive rating, and both are below Boston in offensive rating.

The last time I checked, the Celtics beat Miami twice during the regular season, and the Heat haven’t beaten Boston once. The Celtics and Nuggets split the season series, and in Denver’s four-point victory, Kemba Walker left the game early after suffering a scary neck injury. Boston won by 13 when both teams played with a healthy roster. Oh, wait! Gordon Hayward was actually out that game, and Boston still won by double digits.

Recency bias is showing here because ESPN is riding the Bol Bol hype train. Yes, Bol Bol has impressed during Denver’s scrimmages, but remember, they’re just scrimmages. I forgot having good scrimmage games puts you ahead of other teams that are statistically better than you when they’re playing real games.

Don’t get me wrong, I love both Denver and Miami heading into the regular season and playoffs. They’re two of my sleeper teams that I believe can make a sneaky run when the playoffs begin, but they’re not better than Boston. I mean, I think Boston is on par with Toronto, and they’re three spots ahead of the Celtics on this list.

And not for nothing, Houston is better than Denver and Miami too. Being listed at #8 is far too low for the Rockets.

To be quite honest, as much as I think this list is wrong, I love it. I love that ESPN ranks Boston so low heading into the NBA restart. This low ranking means they don’t have the confidence that the Celtics are better than the Bucks, Raptors, or the Heat, who they’ve all beaten at least once or twice. It is what it is, but this is setting Boston up to surprise a lot of people when the season starts back up. All I can say is, don’t sleep on the Celtics.


Photo: Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

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