For those unfamiliar with this tradition, I like to make wild guesses before the start of the season or the playoffs or a big series. So I couldn’t let the finale pass without some SWAGs. Remember, these are meant to be light-hearted (emphasis on “stupid”) and fully Homer-biased (because that’s me). So take with salt grains of the size that you see fit.
Robert Williams III will get his boost back
The extra rest days before Game 1 and between games will help Rob Williams (and Al Horford) the most. That’s not to say he’ll be completely healthy or won’t play through a certain level of pain. Everyone is at this point to some degree. But what I’m looking for is more bounce from Robert, making him deadly on either end of the court.
If there’s one guy in the world who could stand a chance of directly blocking a 3-pointer from Steph Curry, it would be Rob. If there’s anyone who could make Draymond pay for hedging, it would be Rob with the praise. Excited to see what he brings to this series.
Jordan Poole will be that guy Celts Fans fear and loathe
Close your eyes and you can envision the archetypal player who has given the Celtics nightmares in the past. A shady guard who can shoot from the outside, dig into the teeth of defenses and create shooting opportunities. Poole is that guy and it’s going to be maddening.
That being said, he’s also the guy the Celtics will be aiming for on the other side of the ball. While fans are tearing their hair out over the 15 points he scored in a quarter, the Celtics will still go up 3 points. How much we can exploit the Poole Party when he’s on defense will determine if his plus/minus numbers are plus or minus.
As great as Tatum was in that playoff run, it feels like there’s one more level he can reach. He’s seen some amazing defenses over the last 2 rounds, tailored to at least slow him down or take the ball out of his hands.
The warriors also have elite defense, and they have defenders to throw at Tatum. It will definitely not be easy. But there are guys, particularly on the wing and backcourt, who are looking for Tatum in switches and who he will enjoy. And when the Warriors have to start throwing a second defender at him, he’s proven he’s getting the basketball reading right (and sometimes repositioning himself to get the ball back again). I expect big nights from Tatum.
Marcus Smart – Final MVP
I’ve been predicting that for years. You could also keep the tradition alive. It will likely go to Tatum, but if the Celtics fly another championship banner, it will likely have something to do with Smart’s matchup with Steph Curry. Obviously this is a “no one can stop it, they just have to hope to contain it” situation. But if someone can go full, Belichick slowing down Marshall Faulk would be wise (with an assist or two from Ime Udoka). And lest we forget that Smart can also make a difference on offense. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smart took 11 three-pointers in a game and hit 8 of them. So yes, once again I’m making this prediction and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Celts in the 7th
It will not be easy. In fact, the Celtics will have a hard time. But they just keep coming back. Banner 18 Baby! Let’s go Celtics!!!