1 advantage the Boston Celtics have over every Atlantic Division team

The Boston Celtics are the early favorites to win the Atlantic Division. Here's one advantage they hold over every team.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Celtics' advantage over Nets: Star power

The Brooklyn Nets are a considerably deep team, flushed with talent on the wing and several above-average role players in the Nic Claxton or Spencer Dinwiddie mold. Their sixth-place finish in the East last season is slightly misleading — the Nets climbed up the standings with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the roster, then went sub-.500 after the trade deadline — but Brooklyn is a real team.

Mikal Bridges emerged as a legitimate focal point following the Durant trade. Formerly thought of as a 3-and-D wing of the highest order, Bridges abandoned his role-player trappings to operate as Brooklyn's de facto star. He averaged 26.1 points and 4.5 rebounds on .475/.376/.894 splits in 27 regular-season games with the Nets.

It's hard to call the Nets star-less as a result, but the Celtics simply obliterate Brooklyn on the top-end talent front. As we saw in the playoffs, there are limitations to Bridges as a No. 1 option. He's not a great passer and the Nets struggled to generate offense outside of Bridges drives or pull-ups once the Sixers first-round series arrived.

In the NBA, a major part of the contending equation is simply having the best players. On the star spectrum, Bridges is good, Tatum is great. The Celtics also have Jaylen Brown, who made second-team All-NBA and was universally considered superior to Bridges right up until Game 7 of the Miami series. The Nets probably have more depth on the roster 6-10, but the Celtics' top two give them a pronounced edge in any regular season or playoff projections.

Tatum averaged 30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists on .466/.350/.854 splits last season. With all due respect to Bridges and the Nets, his presence alone is the differentiator.