The Boston Celtics looked the part of a potential Eastern Conference championship repeater against the Philadelphia 76ers during their October 18 opening night win, and the win has convinced one ESPN host — and not just any, but one with an intimate experience of knowing what an Eastern Conference champion looks like — that they will do it.
JJ Redick, who was a part of the 2008-09 Orlando Magic squad that lost to the second consecutive championship Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers squad in that year’s Finals, has the Celtics escaping an Eastern Conference with a fully healthy Milwaukee Bucks (eventually), stagnant Miami Heat, and several other potential risers (Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls).
The reason? Boston’s key acquisition of Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers — which came at the non-core affecting trade that also involved a 2023 Celtics first-round draft pick, Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, and other salary filler going to the Indiana Pacers.
Here’s Redick’s explanation for why the Cs were his personal favorite to win the east:
"“I look at what the Celtics did on their roster this offseason, and adding Malcolm Brogdon. He fills a need that they had off the bench, and he was great [Tuesday night against Philadelphia]. I expect the Celtics – they should be the favorites to come out of the East.”"
Malcolm Brogdon could win Sixth Man of the Year for the Boston Celtics
Not since the legendary Boston Celtics teams of the 1980s has the winner of the Sixth Man of the Year played their home games at the T.D. Garden. There’s a legitimate chance that changes during the 2022-23 season with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon.
Brogdon isn’t going to start when Robert Williams III returns and isn’t even starting now. An injury to Marcus Smart, Derrick White, or Jaylen Brown likely changes that, but as of now, Brogdon is looking like a second unit fixture.
Brogdon had spoken about accepting such a role over the offseason, even being impressed with Boston’s willingness to spend on a sixth man, and was always ready to take on the challenge of being the first Celtics guard to win the Sixth Man of the Year — the third after Kevin McHale (2x) and Bill Walton.