Photo Credit: CBS
The look at all 30 NBA teams continues with the Celtics as we continue the playoff teams in the count down of East teams. Check out previous teams by clicking on the team name: Hornets / Wizards / Knicks / Pistons / Cavs / Bulls / Magic / Hawks / Raptors / 76ers / Pacers / Nets / Heat.
The Celtics had a chaotic offseason. They lost Horford and Kyrie which would kill most teams, but the Celtics made some good additions and had a deep team to help. Kemba Walker might be an upgrade in fit for the Celtics vs Kyrie who seems to thrive in isolation. Horford is a massive loss, one that Kanter can’t fill, but the team has young players to step up. The draft was great for the Celtics once again. Romeo Langford could be a steal if he develops a reliable consistent 3-point shot. He was a top recruit out of high school, and despite struggling in college with a poor team and a hand injury, still has all the tools to succeed in the NBA. The Celtics also got Carsen Edwards who could turn out to be the steal of the draft. He has unlimited range and can score at will off the bench. Grant Williams was another player to watch in the modern NBA, I don’t know if he can play small ball like PJ Tucker, but if he can the Celtics will be much better for it.
G: Kemba Walker
G: Marcus Smart
F: Gordon Hayward
F: Jayson Tatum
C: Enes Kanter
Bench: Jaylen Brown, Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Daniel Thies
The roster fits the modern NBA perfectly. The biggest issue I have is at SG. I like Carsen, Romeo, and Jaylen Brown getting more minutes, which could push Smart out. Smart will get the minutes because Stevens loves him and he’s a tough defender, but looking for a trade for a center using Marcus Smart would be a good idea. He struggles to play offense with any consistency, and the team is deep enough at the 1-3 to let him go.
Prediction: 54-28 (2nd in East) / Make NBA Finals.
The Celtics might have lost talent this offseason, but they still have a lot to be happy about. The majority of the East including the Bucks also got worse. The season will likely ride on the development of Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward. Tatum has become one of the most polarizing players among fans and experts. Some love him (like me), others think he has become vastly overrated. Tatums ability to prove the first group right and be the 2nd scorer the Celtics need behind Kemba will fuel this team. Hayward is the other key. Hayward was a shell of himself last year, but many injuries take 2 years to come back from and this year will be when we see which Gordon Hayward we will have going forward. I believe we get a player slightly worse than he was with the Jazz, but much improved from last year. I have this team far behind the 1 seed Bucks in the regular season as they will be forced to find chemistry, but in the playoffs, this team will be a good match for the Bucks. Smart money would bet on the Bucks with Giannis, but to make things interesting, I believe the Celtics and Brad Stevens win a 7 game series after splitting against the Bucks in the playoffs over the past 2 seasons.
The Future is now in Boston. Romeo, Carsen, Tatum, and Brown are the future, and they are here now. The Celtics have to succeed now, this team won’t get much better in the future outside the development of those players. As I said earlier I believe Smart being moved would be the best move for the Celtics. They have lots of young guards and could use more in the frontcourt. The Celtics need to keep dominating the draft and add one more frontcourt piece at the deadline. Maybe approach the Magic about Vucevic at the deadline, if they fall out of the race.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder