The Boston Celtics are back to being odds-on favorites to win the 2024 NBA championship following their acquisition of All-Star guard Jrue Holiday. According to Fanatics Sportsbook, they're tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the best odds to win it all (+400) and just ahead of the reigning champion Denver Nuggets (+450).
That shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Holiday, a five-time NBA All-Defensive selection, is widely considered a perfect fit for Boston. Our Chris Forsberg went as far as to say that with Holiday in the mix, the C's have the best top-six in the NBA. Former Celtic Brian Scalabrine took it a step further and said it's "by far" the best roster in the league.
"If you talk to any coach in the NBA, they're saying to you right now, 'There's no way to guard this team.' And then, 'How are we gonna score on this team?'" Scalabrine said. "Every NBA coach and general manager will tell you right now that this is by far the best roster in the NBA."
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It's a valid point. Opposing teams will have their hands full trying to guard Boston's top six of Holiday, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis, and Al Horford. Sharpshooters Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard are capable of getting hot off the bench as well.
So, is Scal correct in stating the C's have the NBA's best roster heading into the 2023-24 campaign? Tom Giles, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Casey shared their thoughts on Tuesday's Early Edition.
"It's the best roster in the NBA, but Milwaukee is right there with them," Giles said. "And how about the Denver Nuggets, who won an NBA championship last year? They still have, right now, the best player in the world who is (Nikola) Jokic. I like the Celtics roster more than their roster, but I don't think it's head and shoulders."
The Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat -- who beat the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals -- in five games in the 2023 NBA Finals. Giardi credited Boston for going all-in, but he agrees with Giles' take on Denver still deserving recognition.
"Jamal Murray, Michael Porter I know can be spotty, Aaron Gordon. Like, that's pretty good," Giardi said. "So when you say 'by far,' I can't go 'by far.' But I mean, they're in. They put all the chips on the table. They're trying to win now. I know they've had some runs here and they've gotten close, but this roster has to win."
Casey mentioned the health concerns for the favorites in the East while pointing out that the Nuggets are yet again being underestimated despite their success.
"With the Celtics and the Bucks, you have a couple of big injury questions," Casey said. "Like, can Kristaps Porzingis stay healthy and stay on the floor? And with the Bucks, it goes to Khris Middleton and Damian Lillard. Like, can those two guys (stay healthy) who are older?
"So to me, that's where I almost look at Denver and say, wow, Denver is once again getting overlooked as probably the most complete roster and getting overlooked as a favorite for the NBA title."
Holiday was in Boston on Tuesday as the Celtics officially started training camp. We'll get our first look at the C's this Sunday when they open their preseason against the Philadelphia 76ers. The regular season begins Oct. 25 vs. the New York Knicks.