The Celtics finished last season 20-11 to storm into the 7th seed and the playoffs, before being absolutely destroyed in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. But nevermind that, making the playoffs in the East isn’t about defeating the Cavs, it’s just about being good enough to win against the rest of the mediocre teams in the conference. Making the playoffs once again and improving this young roster should be the goal for GM Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens and it’s not hard to see the Celtics being a playoff team once again. After all, they improved out of sight last year after trading away their two best players (on paper) mid season.
There is no clear cut superstar on this roster, but that doesn’t matter to Stevens, who last year proved to be a master of spreading the minutes and getting the most out of his men. The projected starting lineup of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, David Lee and Kelly Olynyk will mean that proven NBA players like Isaiah Thomas, Amir Johnson, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko and Tyler Zeller will form on of the league’s strongest second units. Add to this talented youngsters Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter, Jordan Mickey and James Young and suddenly you have one of the most exciting rosters in the entire league.
Not only is this team deep, but it is also stacked with efficient players – somewhat a product of Stevens’ system. The most inefficient player on the roster is Isaiah Thomas, the teams leading scorer, best facilitator and closer, who shot 41% from the Field and 35% from deep upon arrival in Boston from Sacramento via Phoenix. That may seem like a problem, but with the spark and X-Factor that Thomas can provide like no other, even the efficiency inclined Stevens can cope with him. The Celtics have only improved this offseason, bringing in David Lee and Amir Johnson, both quality NBA players who will be able to contribute immediately, especially in the close games, which the Celtics struggled in last season.
They could’ve had Justise Winslow to add to this roster had Charlotte accepted their mega-package, however I believe they dodged a bullet, with Brooklyn picks being worth their weight in gold given the gloomy outlook for the downtrodden Brooklyn franchise. The best way to build a team is through the draft, and as such, this Boston team is here to stay. They should make the playoffs this year and will potentially be a title contender for many years to come. Look out Eastern Conference.
Projected Record: 47-35
My Predicted Wins: 42-47
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