Celtics Ranked No. 2 In ESPN Power Rankings
The Boston Celtics came in at number two in ESPN's latest power rankings, just behind the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Chris Forsberg, in the rankings released Monday, summed up the Celtics' offseason thus far.
The Celtics had one of the more snooze-worthy summers in the NBA, electing to simply bring back the same core from last season by re-signing defensive tone-setters Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart. And yet the Celtics will still emerge as one of the offseason winners because, with LeBron James heading west, and with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward set to return from injury, Boston is the early favorite in the East. As Hayward told ESPN last week: "I’m confident that we’ve got everything we need to make the run at the whole thing."
Golden State at No. 1 surprises no one. Even before the acquisition of All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors are the obvious choice here until another team proves they can beat them.
Rounding out the top five, the Celtics were followed by Houston, Philadelphia and Toronto.
The Raptors moved up two spots from No. 7. Toronto benefits from LeBron James, who knocked Toronto out of the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, signing with the Lakers as a free agent. Swapping DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, a two-time All-NBA selection, doesn't hurt either.
Speaking of LeBron, the Lakers jumped to No. 9 in the latest rankings. The Lakers' busy offseason also included the acquisitions of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley.