Celtics Blueprint ‘Mimicked’ By Western Conference Contender

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The Celtics successfully reconstructed their starting lineup, turning Boston’s roster into an NBA Finals winner, which other teams have noticeably been considering this offseason.

“Oklahoma City has looked at the blueprint that the Celtics laid out there for how they built their team in recent years and effectively mimicked it,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix explained during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “They’ve got high-level talent — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the top of it. But everyone on that roster does a little bit of everything. They rebound, they play-make, they defend, they could score. They got a bunch of four, five-tool guys on that roster.

“Now you add Alex Caruso and if the Celtics have a great bunch of wing defenders in Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Jaylen Brown, now you look at Oklahoma City with Shai, with Lu Dort, with Alex Caruso — a two-time all-defensive player — they’ve got a similar type of mix there.”

Last offseason, the Celtics flipped Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon for Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday — two trades that instantly impacted the team. Adding a pair of All-Star-caliber two-way veterans to the Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White starting core did wonders for Boston throughout the regular season and playoffs. It allowed the team to secure take control of the No. 1 seed on Nov. 14, and not surrender it for the rest of the campaign en route to becoming the first team to clinch a postseason spot following a 64-win regular season.

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Presumably, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens wanted to get ahead of the February trade deadline by supplementing the team and allowing the new-look roster to mesh. With flying colors, Boston performed better than ever under the Tatum-Brown era, opening the door for a potential dynasty after the team’s 16-3 playoff run.

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