A Blake Griffin Celtics trade would make Boston the No. 1 contender for the Cavs Eastern Conference crown. But could this Celtics team really knock off LeBron James and the gang?
The Celtics are trying their hardest to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and even if Boston is able to acquire Blake Griffin, the Cavs will still be the biggest power in the East.
We’re just following LeBron’s lead.
What’s Horford’s record against James in the postseason, 0-12!? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
Look, if the Celtics get Griffin, Boston is going to be a very good team. They’re going to win a bunch of regular season game. They may even clinch the No. 1 seed. But the club still has question marks. The big one being: Who’s going to take that last second-shot when you need it?
That question plagued the 2015-2016 Celtics, and while the team added Horford and could potentially add Griffin, GM Danny Ainge still hasn’t answered that question.
Another reason why the Celtics won’t knock the Cavs off their throne?
Cavs Country wants to trade him every time they envision another nightmarish matchup with the Golden State Warriors. But when the playoffs start next April, envision Love as a stretch power forward-center matched up against the Celtics.
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Offensively, he’s going to draw a man out of the paint. Defensively, Love will fight for rebounds. Horford will get his points, but so will Love. Additionally, Love won’t have to guard someone on the perimeter.
The Edge: The potential head-to-head match up of Love vs. Horford is a wash.
Here’s how some other potential matchup would shake out should the Celtics add Griffin:
• Tristan Thompson against Blake Griffin: It’s not really a fair comparison, because the Cavs aren’t asking Thompson to score. Coach Ty Lue wants him to rebound and provide second-chances on offense. Thompson can do that against Griffin, and will probably aggravate Blake in the process.
Meanwhile, Blake is going to get his 21-25 points per game, and that’s fine, as long as Tristan gets his boards. Tyronn Lue could even throw Love on the 6-foot-10 Griffin. Blake’s athleticism is going to make K-Love look bad, but again, Love won’t need to defend the perimeter.
At crunch time, perhaps James covers Griffin when the Cavs need a stop. It’s certainly possible, and the Cavs have the flexibility to make this adjustment.
The Edge: Only because you need points to win, and it’s not like he’s going to be shut out, the edge goes to Griffin.
LeBron James vs. Jae Crowder: No suspense here. LeBron James is the winner of this matchup, although Crowder is a really nice player who’s coming into his own as an NBA player. LeBron is an elite level NBA talent. Crowder isn’t.
J.R. Smith vs. Avery Bradley/Jaylen Brown: Avery Bradley is another good player. The Celtics have lots of those, but J.R. Smith has elevated himself to another level because of his ability to play defense. The Celtics are thin at wing, so Bradley projects as the starter, but the hope in Boston is that rookie Jaylen Brown can emerge into a star. However, as the NBA Summer League’s shown, Brown is still very raw.
The Edge: J.R.
He’s not going to make any All-Defensive teams, but go back and watch games 5-7 (because they’re glorious). Irving was playing passable defense and it showed.
The Edge: Kyrie Irving
Add it all up, and only Celtics starter just one Celtics starter matches up better against the Cavs, and that’s Griffin.
But as the Cavs-Warriors Finals showed, these teams play the games for a reason, and the roster typed out on paper means nothing.
But should the Cavs find themselves matching up against Boston en route to defending their title, everything should be A-OK.