Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Warriors and Celtics build winning teams in the draft

SAN FRANCISCO ( Associated Press) — When Steve Kerr looks at how the Boston Celtics built a team capable of contending for a championship, he sees many similarities to the steps the Golden State Warriors took to reach the NBA Finals in the 2015.

Boston built its foundation through the draft, selecting Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum over a four-year stint between 2014 and 2017, and added the necessary pieces to cover the gaps this year and reach the Finals.

This Thursday, in the first duel of the Finals, Boston will face Kerr’s Warriors, who will play their sixth series for the NBA title in eight years, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“Traditionally that’s how things should work in the NBA,” Kerr acknowledged. “If you look through the years, you typically grow a team with the draft, work through problems on the way to the postseason, push through and get to the Finals. Our team was built somewhat the same, I think this is good for the sport.”

That approach contrasts a rising trend in the league: The signing of megastars by teams trying to build themselves in free agency or trades rather than the draft.

Both teams have eight players who came in the draft. According to ESPN, these are the first Finals since Chicago-Utah in 1998 that the top three playoff scorers from each team made their debuts for their current teams.

FIRST YEAR COACH

Ime Udoka is the fifth coach since 2015 to reach the Finals in his debut year in the NBA, three of the last four having won it all. Kerr outpointed Cleveland’s David Blatt in a matchup of first-year coaches in the 2015 Finals and lost to the Cavs’ Ty Lue the following year.

Toronto’s Nick Nurse also won in his first year as NBA coach against the Warriors in 2019.

Before that, the only first-year coaches to win the NBA Finals were Pat Riley (1982, Lakers) and Paul Westhead (1980, Lakers). Eddie Gottlieb won his first title in the NBA’s precursor, the BAA in 1947 with the Warriors.

COOKED AT HOME

Curry said at the start of the playoffs that he wanted the Warriors to find their identity at the Chase Center, the three-year-old arena and that it is hosting its first postseason run. Golden State has done it. He has won nine home games and has outscored his rivals by 14.6 points.

Nation World News Desk
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