Former NBA star and current analyst Jalen Rose has the Boston Celtics to come out of the East following the announcement regarding the return of NBA basketball.

The league’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format to resume the 2019/20 season on Thursday, with July 31 as a target date for a return.

The Milwaukee Bucks are among the bookies’ favorites to win the title outright but Rose says he thinks the Celtics have a better shot.

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics
Photo: Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Speaking on NBA Countdown on Thursday, Rose said:

“In a neutral situation, the way the season is about to be shotgun started again, I’m taking the Celtics in the East. I’m taking the Celtics in the East, because one of the great things about the Bucks – of course, their game does travel – but their home court was a huge advantage for them, a major advantage. If we’re playing pickup ball, and the Celtics and Bucks players are in the gym, I’m going to pick Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the next four or five picks are going to be Celtics. That’s my choice to come out of the East.”

Rose Is Also Keen On Houston

Rose reckons “small ball” could leave certain teams in an advantageous position and also likes the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference, although he admits the Los Angeles teams are better.

“I’m loving teams like the Celtics and the Rockets,” he added. “Small ball, spread it out and take advantage of the big guys that can’t score against little guys. That’s really what it’s gonna be. It’s gonna be like AAU out there. These dudes have been off for months, so if dudes like Russell Westbrook and James Harden can get hot – he’s averaging 40 and then Russ? Boston’s winning the East.

“The more I think about this – God, strike me down. I hadn’t said this out of my mouth or even thought about it one time until we had this conversation, until right now. Boston’s winning the East, and don’t sleep on Houston in the West, but they’re not better than the Lakers or the Clippers.”