The rich got richer this offseason with the Golden State Warriors’ signing of star center DeMarcus Cousins. However, that has not changed Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving’s expectations for the 2018-19 NBA season.
The Warriors may have one of the most formidable lineups in NBA history on paper. According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen, Irving is still somehow confident that Boston has the pieces necessary to take them on:
“Because of who we have,” Irving answers, “and what we’re establishing here, not just for this season, but for hopefully for the next few years, something that’s pretty special.
Irving added that his experience against Golden State will give Boston an added edge.
“I’ve played against Golden State in three straight Finals (2015-17) — two that I was able to participate in — and seeing them evolve, with the talent they have, and then adding DeMarcus Cousins [this offseason], it’s like ‘OK, the whole league is on notice.’
“But there’s one factor that they’re aware of, and I’m aware of, and that’s that I’ve seen them up close. I’ve played them so many times. We’ve gone in a seven-game series [when I was in Cleveland], so I know what it takes.
There is certainly plenty of truth to Irving’s comments. The Celtics continuously exceeded expectations last season all the way up until they made the Eastern Conference Finals. The fact that they did it without their two superstars in Irving and small forward Gordon Hayward says a lot about the kind of talent that is on this team.
Furthermore, there is a good reason for Irving to be confident given his track record against Golden State. His history against the Warriors could help the Celtics gain an idea of what works well.
It is clear that Irving has high expectations for his team this season. they have now been dubbed the early favorites to take the East with LeBron James now with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Celtics have more than enough talent to win the Eastern Conference, it is still a bit far-fetched to assume they can knock off the reigning champs.
It will take time for Irving and Hayward to get accustomed to playing together. Even when they do manage to get on the same page, there is no telling how dominant this Warriors team will be now that Cousins is in the mix.