Today, we begin a week or 10 day long quest to find out just how delusional we can all be as sports fans. We all know that the Cavs are beating the Celtics in 4 or 5 games — there’s no way that the Celtics weak interior defense can stop Kyrie or LeBron’s drives to the hoop or Mozgov’s tree trunk body from taking over — but we’re gonna watch just as intently as we did in the 2008 classic Cavs-Celtics series.
The way that I’ll get myself to watch the series intently is to see how exactly each Celtic is being used, and what that means for their future value for the team. I need to see how well Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley defend Kyrie Irving. Will Smart establish himself as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league a few years earlier than even the Celtics probably hoped that he would? Will Bradley get back to his 2012 defense, when Celtics fans felt that we had a version of Tony Allen who’s actually good on offense as well?
And how will Jae Crowder fare against LeBron? That may be the most important question of the series, not to mention how much money Crowder makes this July. Danny Ainge will be watching intently to see what kind of future plans the team will have for Crowder.
And I really wanna see how Jared Sullinger — as well as Kelly Olynyk, but more so Sullinger — deals with Timofey Mozgov. If Sullinger can actually be a low post threat who can space the floor somewhat with a midrange jumper than he can make Celtics fans and the organization forget about his weight issues earlier in the year. And I want to see just how important Evan Turner and Brandon Bass are to the team… Should Ainge either walk away from them or trade them for another asset or 2 this summer (Bass is an expiring deal, so that would have to be an unlikely sign and trade), or do they have value as veteran role pieces on a young team?
Most importantly, I want to see how the kids handle the bright lights and how much Brad Stevens can toy with David Blatt. . Smart and Stevens are the 2 most important Celtics assets, and this series will determine just how much promise the Celtics have in the future, and seeing how the young core of the team — both players and coaching staff — handle a series against King James when they’re overmatched will be very interesting to see.
As for a pick, Cavs in 5. They’ll win a blowout in Game 1, a close one in Game 2, the C’s will take Game 3 (wouldn’t be surprised if the refs helped the Celtics out in order to get another nationally televised LeBron game), and then the Cavs will take care of business in Games 4 and 5 by 10 or 15 points. Let’s hope I’m wrong… somehow.