Chris Broussard explains why the Boston Celtics are ‘not a contender’ in the East

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In his discussion with Rob Parker, Greg Jennings and Holly Sonders, Chris Broussard explains how injuries, young players and a competitive conference are a few reason why Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics are not a contender in the Eastern Conference.

- Well, look, being fair, we have to talk about Marcus Smart being out with injury. He's missed the last 11 games, and he appears to be the one guy they can't do without. Their record is better without Kyrie Irving, without Al Horford, who are their two All-Stars, than it is without Marcus Smart, because he's so important to their defense. It's no coincidence that the last two games without Smart, they gave up a season high 121 to the Cavs and a season high 129 last night to the Clippers. So we have to put that out there first.

All that said, I never bought into the notion of the Celtics being a great team, a contending, a championship contending team. They're a very good team. They're a solid team.

They're a little better than they were last year, but they're not in the league of Clevelands, the Houstons, the Golden States. They're just not. I think Toronto is even better than them.

And so what I'm seeing now, they lost four or five, obviously they're not that bad, but they're closer to the team that has been 18 and 15 over the last two months than they are to that team that started 22 and 4. A big part of their problem is they are counting on two of their best four players are young. And it's great for them in the future.

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, I love them. I think both could be stars. But right now, Tatum as a rookie, 19 years old, whatever he is, 20 years old, and Jaylen Brown just in his second year, his first year of really play a big minutes, Tatum's hit a wall. First two months, he was one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. Now he's 33% over the last month and a half. It happens to rookies, especially a rookie playing on a team that's trying to win a conference title. So I get it, but--

- And hadn't played that many games in college.

- No, no.

- You know what I mean? Compared to when you got the grind and [INAUDIBLE].

- That's essentially when he went down, after the college season ended--

- After the college season, absolutely.

- --the 35 games or whatever it is. So look, they're a pretty good team. They got work to do. Look at all the elites. Golden State's got four stars. Cleveland's got two, oh, one of them being the best player in the world. Houston's got two future Hall of Famers.

I mean, the elite teams have a number of stars. Boston's got one. That's it, one. And they're doing a good job for what they are. But they're not a contender, this is who they are.