It’s the NBA off-season, and that means it’s the perfect time for fans and analysts to start sharing who they believe are the best players in the NBA. We see this happen every year, and there are endless debates about who belongs in the league’s top ten or top fifteen.
According to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, who has recently started his own newsletter, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has finally broken through the glass ceiling and now resides on the outskirts of the league’s top five best players.
In Bailey’s September 5 newsletter, he lists Tatum as the 6th best player in the NBA at present, slightly below Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, who occupy the 4th and 5th spots respectively.
“I’m so close to bumping Tatum up to the group with Doncic and Curry. He’s the best defender of the three, but the offensive dominance of Tier 1B’s current occupants sets them apart,” Bailey wrote.
Tatum is coming off his best season to date, where he led the Celtics to an NBA finals appearance along with being named an All-Star and making the All-NBA first team. Now, the onus is on Tatum to continue improving and to help Boston snap a 14-year dry spell by winning a championship.
Boston Has Improved This Summer
After coming close to lifting banner 18, the Celtics entered the off-season with a clear plan: add some veteran talent to improve the bench rotation, and give some of the starters additional opportunities to gain some much-needed rest throughout the season.
Brad Stevens quickly moved to acquire Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, although the latter is now set to miss the upcoming season after sustaining an ACL injury while playing on the international stage with Italy.
However, regardless of Gallinari’s injury, Boston’s roster looks set to be one of the most dynamic in the league – primarily due to their defensive switchability, and the number of players who can slide up or down positions on offense. Adding Brogdon was also a masterstroke, as his playmaking, scoring, and ability to orchestrate an offense were all areas of need that required addressing throughout the summer.
Hopefully, Stevens and the front office can find a veteran forward to replace the role Gallinari was expected to fill in the coming season, but there should also be hope that the likes of Sam Hauser can step up and prove they’re deserving of their roster spot, should the front office choose to stand pat.
Celtics ‘Have Interest’ in Adding Carmelo Anthony
With Gallinari sidelined for the upcoming season, Boston once again finds themselves in need of bench scoring in order to lighten the load on Brogdon and Grant Williams. Ideally, when healthy, Gallinari would have played the role of floor spacing, looking to shoot off the catch and keep defenses stretched out to the three-point line.
As such, it makes sense that Boston will look to find another forward that can offer a similar style of offense, while also being capable of attacking close-outs when opposing defenses look to run them off the line.
Enter Carmelo Anthony, the veteran scorer who has reinvented himself as a legitimate bench role player, capable of acting as a spark plug when the offense hits a wall.
According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the Celtics are aware of what Anthony brings to the table, and have a growing interest in adding him to their rotation for the upcoming season.
“This is starting to gain traction because Anthony may be the best shooting forward left on the market, and he has shown to be productive offensively despite his age…Anthony has remained in great shape and can still score. He had 20 or more points in 11 games last season and played 26 minutes per game, showing his durability. Anthony wants an opportunity to win a championship, and this could be his best chance,” Washburn wrote in his August 5 article.
While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Anthony averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 37.5% from deep and 52.1% from two-point range in 69 appearances. Given how the Celtics struggled to break second units down last season, adding the veteran forward could be the ideal move to help them navigate their next 82-game stretch.