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Celtics Crowned NBA Champions, Williams Fired & Redick Hired

The Boston Celtics have been crowned 2023-24 NBA champions following their convincing win over the Dallas Mavericks in five games. Meanwhile, as the Celtics celebrate, the rest of the league is planning for next season.

Boston Celtics: NBA Champions

The Boston Celtics occupied the first line of betting in the championship winner market all season and justified their place by lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy after Game 5.

Plenty talked themselves into the Dallas Mavericks before the NBA Finals tipped off. The Celtics, while undoubtedly the better team, didn’t have Luka Doncic—the best player. And despite history suggesting that the best player can often be enough to win the series, the Celtics never looked like losing. Historically dominant throughout the regular season, the Celtics continued that dominance through the Finals.

Failure in previous seasons became Boston’s greatest teacher as they ripped through the Mavericks in five games. Horror show in Game 4 aside, Boston looked dialled in and ready for anything all the way through. As it turns out, a battle within the squad between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown became the most interesting.

Brown’s 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Game 5 secured the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award with averages of 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. While not the biggest numbers for an MVP, it’s his work on the defensive end that put him front and centre for voters.

Unfortunately, Tatum will be remembered for his cringe-worthy celebrations as much as his on-court performance. Still, he became the first Celtics player ever to score 30+ points and 10+ assists in an NBA Finals game, which will always be recorded in the history books.

Dallas didn’t live up to expectations on the offensive end. Kyrie Irving struggled—on the road, in particular. A lot of the optimism around Dallas centred around their ability to win a close game via their Irving/Doncic backcourt. However, in the biggest moments in Game 3, when the Mavericks needed to make their move and win a close one, Doncic sat on the bench with six fouls and watched the Celtics take a 3-0 series lead.

It’s not over for Dallas. They made the right moves late in the season. Perhaps too late. With a summer to iron out the kinks and the regular season to improve on an already championship-contending team, they will be back. So too, will the Celtics. Tatum, Brown, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, Kristaps Porzingis, All Horford, Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard are all under contract for the 2024-25 NBA season already. That’s Boston’s eight leaders in minutes played this season locked in for the next.

There will be off-season additions and the NBA Draft to add pieces. Whatever Brad Stevens manages to do over the next few months, the Celtics will more than likely enter the 2024-25 season on the first line of betting in the championship market.

Shoutout to Al Horford

Monty’s Massive Paypacket

You know things went bad when the front office falls on their sword and agrees to pay somebody $65 million not to coach their basketball team.

But that is the case for the Detroit Pistons, who fired Monty Williams last week. Hired as their coach of the future, the man to navigate the rebuild across six years, Williams is already out of the door with new President Trajan Langdon now on the hunt for a coaching hire of his own.

The Pistons finished with a franchise-record 68 losses last season. It’s the latest season in a run of five that makes up the third-worst winning percentage in any five-season span in NBA history. Detroit is a shocking 94-290 across the last five NBA seasons—comfortably the worst in the league.

Williams struggled with his rotations. He became obsessed with some players at the expense of others. The balance between development and being competitive rarely looked right. His reluctance to embrace analytics and going as far as to actively avoid them will have played a large part in his downfall and will be a factor in any future jobs he hopes to attract.

There is plenty there for a new coach to work with. Cade Cunningham has steadily improved, while Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart and Ausar Thompson are all young and talented players on an upward trajectory.

Winning helps with development. Being competitive is crucial. Williams wasn’t able to create that environment for the Pistons. It’s essential that their next coach strikes the right balance to finally dig the Pistons out of the doldrums.

Redick Hired

No coach has lasted three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers since Phil Jackson.

Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the franchise from offering a four-year contract to JJ Redick despite his lack of coaching credentials.

It has yet to be officially announced, but the right people are reporting that Redick’s move to the Lakers is a done deal.

It’s a risk for the Lakers who are trying to retain LeBron James while simultaneously planning for a future without him. Redick doesn’t have a history on the sidelines, but he is considered one of the smartest people around the game. On the court as a player and in the media after retiring, he has always been able to display his basketball IQ and an ability to connect with players.

Connection is key with James. The pair have linked up more recently to produce a podcast together which may have been an influence on the decision. With the future in mind, Redick profiles as a good coach for the younger group of Max Christie, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.

But that is all Redick is at the moment – a profile.

The step up to being an NBA head coach – with the Lakers, no less – isn’t one many people make without any experience. In typical Lakers fashion, Redick will be making headlines for better or worse.

 

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