On Tuesday the 2018 NBA season will begin with the match up that we have all been looking forward to since Kyrie Irving did the unthinkable, asking to be traded away from the Kingdom. What was once a marquee match up of the two best teams in the East has quickly turned into a soap opera sponsored by social media.
Celtics vs. Cavaliers is the only matchup that is worth a fans time in the 2018 Eastern Conference regular season. The Cavaliers open up as 3 point favorites at home. My prediction is that they cover the 3 points (contingent on Lebron playing) in game that will have a lot of back and forth moments early that will have fans wondering which team is truly the class of the conference.
While I see the Cavaliers winning on Tuesday night I do not see them running away with the Eastern Conference. Cavaliers fans see the additions of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Jae Crowder as replacements for Kyrie Irving. Asking Rose and Wade play at the level of Kyrie Irving is not realistic at this point in their careers. This is 2017-18 the wear and tear on both wade and Rose is very questionable. The inclusion of Isaiah Thomas gives a scoring punch that many would say can replace Kyrie. Remember that Isaiah Thomas was playing on a Celtics team that relied on him to handle all the decisions. Not only will he have a late start to the season but it is unlikely he will have much time with the ball especially in the 4th quarter. If Lebron has the willingness to hand over the reigns of the ball handling late then I believe Thomas can make an impact. But let’s be serious, that is not happening nor should it happen. I will predict at one point during the season there will be some unhappy comments in the media from one of these players.
So why not the Celtics? Athletes all over the court. The additions of Kyrie and Hayward give them a legitimate star power. Wings like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will make people forget about Jae Crowder if they haven’t already. With the Cavaliers going smaller in the starting lineup, it plays right into the hands of a Celtics team that doesn’t have the depth in the center spot defensively. I do think that depth is problem for the Celtics. While I like their bench, the players on their bench are their for a reason. They are strictly role players. Barring an injury I think that the Celtics have a legitimate shot at dethroning the King. I see the Celtics losing Tuesday night but I also see a young hungry team with great leadership. This could be a year or two early but for now I believe the Cavaliers should be worried about their Eastern crown.