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Setting The Pick – Three NBA season takeaways

Jayson Tatum Celtics Jayson Tatum - The Canadian Press

Another year, another spin around the carousel for a new NBA champion.

The Celtics get the next 12 months to flex on any anyone who doubted their talent.

After seven straight playoff appearances, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally lead the franchise to their league-leading 18th title, the first since the Big-3 era of Boston basketball in 2008.

Parity was at the forefront of discussions for most of the season, so it is no surprise that a sixth different winner hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy this year.

Similar to how Denver was given all the respect after their championship last season, Boston rightfully should be the favourite going into 2024-25.

Their six-man rotation remains intact and only Derrick White and Al Horford are up for renewal after next year.

But as Kevin Garnett famously screamed during Boston’s last chip, “anything is possible!”

As we ride off into the summer sunset, here are three final thoughts to sit on before the offseason.

The old guard is officially dead

39, 36, and 35.

Those are the ages of LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant – the three most influential players of this generation.

For the first time ever, those three will collectively represent Team USA at the Olympics.

They’re heavily favoured (-390) and should come away with gold, but for this trifecta – it’ll likely be their ‘last dance’.

Don’t count on them collecting any more basketball hardware moving forward.

As we witnessed this season, a new cohort of players took their teams deep into the playoffs.

All five All-NBA First Team players were under 30 years old, same as the Top-5 in MVP voting.

Coming into the year, those hall of famers were still getting respect from the traders at FanDuel.

The Suns (+550), Lakers (+1300) and Warriors (+1700) were all within the Top-6 to win the championship this year.

None of them won a single playoff game this season.

Those three held the throne for so long that an entire generation of players was left in their shadows for much of the past decade.

But as father time has caught up to them, a new age of young, talented superstars has emerged.

Like a Game of Thrones, next year lines up to be another slaughter fest between many up-and-coming young teams.


A first-time MVP winner will be anointed

There’s no denying Nikola Jokic deserved his third MVP trophy this season.

Traditional stats, advanced stats, and eye-tests all led to the same conclusion - The Joker was bringing home the Michael Jordan trophy.

But I’m here to boldly declare, that’ll be the last of his career.

There are too many other worthy players in the league today.

As you go down the list of past winners, you might notice a peculiar trend – 28 seems the be the ceiling age for MVP winners.

Jokic was 28 years old this season, Joel Embiid was 28 last year.

You have to go all the way back to Kobe Bryant in 2008 to find a winner 29 or older.

Often times, playoff success from the previous season bleeds into the narrative for MVP the following year.

I get the sense that Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Anthony Edwards will garner more respect now that they have some playoff accomplishments on their resume.

MVP is typically correlated to team record so if any of those three can build on this season, I’m certain we’ll have a first-time Michael Jordan trophy winner next season.

Celtics - the NBA’s Berkshire Hathaway

Some investors love gambling on crypto currency, GameStop, and other high-risk, high-reward opportunities to strike gold.

Some investors lean on companies that year-in, year-out, guarantee sound profits.

Warren Buffet was the world’s second-richest man for most of this century and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, is the standard for consistency.

Their team comp in the NBA is the Boston Celtics.

Now that they’ve won the Larry O’Brien trophy, every oddsmakers will ensure their price is pumped as high as they reasonable can.

Even still, the Celtics shape up to be a profitable investment.

After the second-most dominant playoff run since the NBA moved to seven games in the first round, Boston will head into 2024-25 as a standalone favourite.

The Celtics opened this year as the betting favourite and never gave up pole position at any point.

Chances are that trend repeats next year, and to their credit, it’d be justified.

Unless they get hit by injury luck, their roster is the most formidable amongst the Eastern Conference teams.

A team out West could assemble a more championship worthy roster.

The challenge? That conference is so competitive, the path to the NBA Finals would be layered with so many more obstacles.

In the seven seasons Tatum has played in the NBA, no other player has logged more playoff games than him.

Even if Toronto fans don’t like hearing it, the Celtics are the closest thing to the next dynasty since the Warriors and Heat era of the 2010s.