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Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Kerr called the Celtics “the team of the future in the East” and praised their on-court cohesion. He also described Kyrie Irving as “amazing.” The Athletic’s Anthony Slater shared Kerr’s comments:
Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Steve Kerr on the Celtics, who he calls “the team of the future” in the East https://t.co/tGCoVbypWB
That’s not to say Kerr’s assessment of the Celtics is wide of the mark.
While the Cavs are presumably the East’s best team, LeBron James’ impending free agency is a big question surrounding the franchise. And until he steps on the court, nobody knows whether Isaiah Thomas can be an All-NBA guard again when he recovers from his hip injury.
The Celtics, meanwhile, own the best record in the NBA (12-2) in what’s supposed to be a year of adjustment following the additions of Irving and Gordon Hayward—and Hayward’s subsequent injury on opening night.
The silver lining of Hayward’s fractured ankle is that it has forced Boston’s young talent to take on larger roles, and they’ve flourished as a result. Jaylen Brown is averaging 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum is scoring 13.6 points a night and shooting 47.6 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Smart’s 5.8 assists per game are a career high.
Until somebody dethrones the Cavaliers, they remain the kings of the East, but the Celtics are on the rise. Thursday’s game between Golden State and Boston could be a preview of the NBA Finals in a few years.