The Boston Celtics were the Eastern Conference Champions in 2021. If they wish to meet that mark, or exceed it, they’ll need to do so without their now-suspended head coach, Ime Udoka. In steps interim coach, Joe Mazzulla. A highly coveted, young coach who was on his way to a head coaching job, with or without Boston. We know interim coaches are much looser on players – specifically star players. Udoka’s season-long suspension should have little impact on the Celtics player’s performance. The top guys will continue to shine. Anything less than another Eastern Conference crown for the Boston Celtics is a failure. Some would say, not winning the whole thing is a failure.

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The Philadelphia 76ers enter the 2022-23 season with an almost identical roster as the prior year. There were no major casualties. Losing veterans Paul Millsap and Deandre Jordan would not be considered losses, as each player had been diminished to a shell of their once-All-Star selves, as Father Time would have it. In Philadelphia, the level of talent is there. The MVP-caliber players are there. The buy-in is there. What does it take for the Philadelphia 76ers to take the next step?

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