It's not easy getting back to the NBA Finals after losing in the previous season. Just ask the Phoenix Suns, who were bounced by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 2022 postseason after coming two wins shy of a championship against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 Finals.
But the Boston Celtics are a legitimate threat to be playing into June next year. After falling to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, the Celtics bolstered their talented young core by trading for veteran point guard Malcolm Brogdon and signing sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari.
The Celtics reportedly have discussed a Kevin Durant trade with the Nets that would figure to boost their title chances even more. But star forward Jayson Tatum believes this current group is capable of winning a championship.
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"What kind of competitor would I be if I said no?" Tatum told NBC Sports Boston's Tom Giles on Thursday night from his youth basketball camp at Chaminade High School in St. Louis when asked if he feels his team as currently constructed can win the NBA title. "I always believe in myself and believe in my teammates.
"Obviously we got close, got to Game 6 and we didn't make it happen, so this offseason, everything is just about getting back to that point and getting over the hump. Obviously we added two great pieces that I feel make us a lot better and complement our team extremely well."
Tatum has harped on the importance of continuity for the Celtics, who are expected to run back their same starting five of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams on opening night. So, even if nothing comes of the Durant rumors, it sounds like Tatum would be more than happy to compete for a championship with his current squad.
Tatum also discussed his relationship with Brown and how the two have grown together, which you can watch in the video below: