Boston Celtics

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has laid out his team’s 2018-19 plans.

At the top of the list? Beating the Boston Celtics.

“We’ve got to get past Boston,” Simmons, whose Sixers were beaten by the undermanned Celtics in a five-game second-round series last year, admitted. “Those are the guys at the top right now. Beating them, that’s our next goal.

“Obviously getting further than the second round and winning the East Finals and then moving on to the Finals.”

The bad news for Simmons, though, is that next year’s Celtics team (if healthy) will have a completely different complexion than the one that made quick work of his team last postseason. That starts with the return of both Kyrie Irving (knee) and Gordon Hayward (leg) to the C’s lineup after both watched the entire 2018 NBA Playoffs from the sidelines. And it only gets worse for the Sixers when you factor in Philadelphia’s summertime failure to land a big fish such as LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard while also losing a couple of their depth-scorer shooters in free agency.

And the versatile Jaylen Brown, who emerged as one of the Celtics’ go-to scorers in their 2018 run that included that aforementioned steamrolling of the Sixers, seems to believe that the Celtics already have a leg-up on their competition.

“We got a lot, a lot of talent on this team,” Brown, who has already guaranteed a trip to the 2019 NBA Finals, said of the 2018-19 Celtics. “And we’ve got some real good mindsets, and it’s a pleasure playing with them all.”

Oh, and Ben Simmons still won’t shoot a three-pointer.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.