Despite losing their two biggest stars for the majority of the season, the Boston Celtics still nearly made the Finals last season after pushing the Cavs to the brink of elimination.
That was largely because of their suffocating defense, as well as their depth, both engineered by basketball wunderkind Brad Stevens, whose ability to coax the very best performances out of his players up and down the roster is nearly unequaled in the modern NBA.
But it was also thanks to Jayson Tatum, the precocious rookie who played well beyond his years in the first postseason appearance of his career. Tatum lead the team in scoring throughout the playoffs and made huge plays down the stretch in hotly contested games. Tatum’s sensational rookie campaign brings lofty expectations for his sophomore season, as the Celtics are now the Eastern Conference favorites entering 2018-19.