With 7 Players, Boston Celtics Have The Most Players in ESPN’s Best NBA Players List

Even though ESPN hasn’t fully released their annual list of The 100 Best NBA Players of the 2022-23 Season, the Boston Celtics have locked up having the most players on the controversial list.

With Grant Williams barely cracking the list at #99, the newly acquired Malcolm Brogdon (#65), all the way to Jayson Tatum at #7, the Celtics have 7% of the league’s one hundred best players according to ESPN’s experts and scribes Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Jonathan Givony, Andrew Lopez, Tim McMahon, Kevin Pelton, and Ohm Youngmisuk.

Rank Celtic Player Team
#7 Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics
#22 Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics
#34 Marcus Smart Boston Celtics
#58 Robert Williams III Boston Celtics
#70 Al Horford Boston Celtics
#87 Malcolm Brogdon Boston Celtics
#99 Grant Williams Boston Celtics

According to most NBA watchers, talking heads, and gg bet, the Celtics are one of the favorites to go deep into the playoffs again this season. Last season they made the NBA Finals with one of the tightest rotations in the league. With the addition of Brogdon, they’ve added depth without sacrificing any of their core eight players from last season (including Derek White and Payton Pritchard).

The team with the second-most players? It’s not the franchise you think it would be. The only team with six players on ESPN’s list is the Cleveland Cavaliers. After having a surprising season that saw Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen make the NBA All-Star team, the team added another All-Star in Donovan Mitchell. You add to that Evan Mobley, Caris Levert and Kevin Love, and you have a really talented Cavs team going into 2023.

Rank Cavs Player Team
24 Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavs
36 Evan Mobley Cleveland Cavs
46 Darius Garland Cleveland Cavs
52 Jarrett Allen Cleveland Cavs
80 Caris LeVert Cleveland Cavs
97 Kevin Love Cleveland Cavs

Surprisingly, Mobley ranked higher (#36) than both Garland (#46) and Allen (#52), that’s how much potential the ESPN head think the second year 6-11 forward has coming into the season.

Teams With 5 Players, 1 Player

After the Celtics and Cavs, there are three teams with five players on ESPN’s list. That includes the Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole), the Memphis Grizzlies (Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke) and the Atlanta Hawks with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, Dejounte Murray, John Collins and Trae Young.

There were only two teams that had just one player on ESPN’s list. The first one is no surprise; the sole Houston Rocket on the list is Jalen Green (#62).

The Charlotte Hornets were the other team; represented by just NBA All-Star LaMelo Ball (#41). The Hornets surely would have had two with Miles Bridges who had a career year last season. However, Bridges immediate future in the NBA is cloudy after off-court troubles this off-season with felony charges of domestic violence and child abuse. ESPN chose not to include Bridges in this year’s rankings because they don’t think he’ll be suiting up this season.

Exclusions Impact ESPN’s List 

These type of exclusions are saved for players with injuries as they did with Kawhi Leonard in last season’s list and is the reason why they left rookie Chet Holmgren off the list who will miss the 2022-23 season due to a foot injury.

Had Bridges and Holmgren not missed this upcoming season, it would have impacted this list of teams with the most representation. With those two, it would have pushed Grant Williams (#99) off the list and the Boston Celtics would have tied the Cavs with six players on the list (with Kevin Love barely making the list at #100).

It would have also forced Bogdan Bogdanovic (#100) off the list, too. Meaning only the Warriors and Grizzlies would have five players on the list.

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With Malcolm Brogdon, Do Boston Celtics Have Enough To Be 2023 NBA Champs?

The 2021-22 NBA season came to a close with the Golden State Warriors being crowned the NBA Champions. Golden State’s run wasn’t a given with many talking heads believing there were too many open questions for the Warriors to seriously challenge. It didn’t help that the Warriors went through a second half slump where they finished the season 14-16 in their last 30 games.

On the other side of the conference, the Boston Celtics finished their last thirty games with league best 24-6 record rolling into the postseason on fire. They swept the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets 4-0, beat the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, and then took down the #1 seed Miami Heat in seven games.

It wasn’t a perfect run, but they had enough fire power led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with a strong rotation that included exceptional play from Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford, Grant Williams and Derrick White.

The two teams met in the Finals and despite stealing the first game from the Warriors and blowing out Golden State in game three, the Warriors will and experience eventually overtook the younger Celtics teams.

So what did the C’s learn from their NBA Finals trip? Do they remain potential title contenders for going into next season? 

NBA Finals Performance Left A Lot To Be Desired

There is no denying that the Celtics NBA Finals performance left many unimpressed especially games 4, 5, and 6. Indeed, if you had used a Betway sign up bonus or something similar and looked at the odds of them winning after Game 2, you would certainly have not placed that bet! Indeed, from that point on, betting odds were firmly in GSW’s favor.

There were many problems, including Jayson Tatum’s so-called collapse and offensive struggles, and their lack of a consistent defensive to stop eventual Finals MVP Steph Curry.

Lack of Playmaking

After their incredible shooting performance in Game one, the Celtics looked burnt out and were unable to recreate that same magic. Though Smart was a capable playmaker, the Celtics inability to generate good looks as they got deeper into the series highlighted the need for a playmaker.

The good news? The Celtics got one of the best playmakers on the market — one of the rare players that’s pulled off a rare 50-40-90 season — when they signed Malcolm Brogdon. They traded for the 29-year old point guard without having to give up any of their core rotation players.

Brogdon averaged over 20 points in the last couple seasons and is a very good defensive player. The 6-5 guard is a very good answer for the offensive areas that the Celtics are struggling with and a perfect fit for the defensive identity that propelled the Celtics into the best team in the second half of the season.

Did 2022 Playoffs Give Celtics The Required Experience?

Although their finals performance was not what Boston wanted, there can be positives taken from the season and playoffs. Firstly, the team continues to have an excellent defensive presence, and some may say that no one could have stopped Steph Curry’s brilliance in that Finals series.

Secondly, this relatively young hoops team (except seemingly immortal Al Horford) has now broken their Finals virginity. They know what the atmosphere, tension and excitement feel like. This experience is vital, and the reality is that very few teams triumph in their first-ever Finals experience. Celtics fans hope that the team can grow from this loss and use it to strengthen their resolve for the new season.

The 2022-2023 NBA season looks to be amazing with free agencies and crazy trades looking to completely shake up rosters and bring in a wave of new contenders.

That being said, even though Golden State should be stronger this season, there is no reason why the Boston Celtics cannot make a deep playoff run again and potentially win. Their star players should continue to grow and mature this season, and their experience from the 2021-2022 playoffs and finals should help further boost their mental fortitude and toughness.

 

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Larry Bird still holds a grudge against Bill Laimbeer

With Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and Rick Mahorn, the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s didn’t just beat you on the court, they beat you down on the court. Continue reading “Larry Bird still holds a grudge against Bill Laimbeer”

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