Recent History Says Boston Celtics Fantastic Play Will Not Lead to NBA Championship

Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts during the
Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts during the / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are a wagon. There's really no other way to say it.

After starting the season 17-19, the Celtics are 29-9 since the start of 2022. The team is dismantling teams, posting the best net rating in the NBA since then.

First year head coach Ime Udoka has the team playing elite defense while humming on the offensive end around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the prior of which is starting to realize his superstar potential. Tatum is averaging over 28 points per game on a decent 47% field goal percentage, 37% 3-point percentage and 88% from the free throw line.

However, does dominating teams in the regular season like the Celtics do, seemingly flipping the switch from mediocre to elite overnight, lead to postseason success? Let's take a look.

Regular Season Success Doesn't Lead to NBA Championships

Let's take a recent example of net rating, the metric I used above. The Utah Jazz led the NBA in net rating last season, while also posting the best record in the NBA. In short, Utah blitzed the entire league around Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and a ton of floor spacers around him, namely Donovan Mitchell.

The Celtics won't fit this year-long metric, but the Jazz also led the NBA in net rating from January 1st on last season, but the team flamed out in the postseason, losing in the Western Conference Semifinals to the wounded Los Angeles Clippers without Kawhi Leonard.

Over the last 10 seasons, the team that led the NBA in net rating since January 1st of that season has only won the NBA Championship 3 times: The 2013 Miami Heat, who won their second consecutive title, the 2015 Warriors, who won their first of 3 rings, and the 2017 Warriors in their first season with Kevin Durant.

That's it. So yes, the Celtics may be turning into something over the second half of the season, but there is little evidence that this is the blueprint for NBA Championship success. The three teams I mentioned were super teams that not dominated teams with overwhelming talent, not the league's best defense in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Should You Bet the Boston Celtics to Win the NBA Title?

On February 9th, the Celtics were +6500 to win the NBA title at WynnBET Sportsbook. Now, they are +1100 in a very competitive Eastern Conference that is shaping up to be a five-team race which includes Boston.

If this price was still north of +2000, sure, the Celtics have serious momentum that may land them the No. 1 seed (they are 1.5 games behind the Miami Heat and are 25-12 at the TD Garden this season), but I'm not going to buy their regular season dominance as a playoff indicator.

Despite the acquisition of Derrick White at the trade deadline, the Celtics are still short on perimeter shooting, relying on Tatum and Brown isolations to carry them through the game. Yes, defense is key, and Udoka has turned this team into a monster on that end, but what happens when the rest of the East raise their level come playoff time.

Again, there are five teams in the hunt for an NBA Finals berth from the East. The bracket is far from solidified and the Celts are still short on the offensive side of the ball, ranking 13th in effective field goal percentage since January 1st. I'm not buying defense solely winning championships in 2022.

History doesn't look favorably on these regular season giants as playoff success stories, so this number is a pass for me now.

You can find all of Reed's bets HERE!