After a surprisingly impressive 2015-2016 season, and a huge signing, the Boston Celtics are primed to compete with the big boys this season.
Coming off of an impressive and surprising 48-34 season back in 2015 and getting the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are arguably the last team that NBA experts should be sleeping on. In an offseason where the biggest news in the league were, Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for Golden State, and the Knicks changing their identity by adding players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Celtics quietly flew under people’s radars. Boston had its fair share of needed additions as well that many fans seemed to just completely ignore throughout the summer.
Back in July, the Celts managed to acquire all around lethal big man, Al Horford from their archival, the Atlanta Hawks . He was signed to a four year $113M deal. They had to release Jared Sullinger to free up cap space, especially since they had already re signed Amir Johnson, and small forward Jonas Jerebko. Horford is by far an upgrade, especially since he can spread the floor and shoot threes much better than Sullinger can. Not to mention that Horford is a great addition to the already suffocating defense that head coach Brad Stevens runs.
The Celtics also acquired California’s star small forward Jaylen Brown in the third overall pick of the 2016 draft. In college, he was named the Pac-12 conference Freshman of the year in 2015, and averaged 15 ppg. The only problem with him is, he may be inexperienced considering he played in a weak basketball conference, and decided to skip the rest of his college career.
Nonetheless, he still has potential, and with a top notch coach like Stevens, he should develop nicely.
As much as I enjoyed watching Isaiah Thomas last year, I don’t think he can be considered a superstar until he develops that clutch gene that he has been missing for so long. He has the potential to be a top 10 point guard in the league if he can do that. He is a versatile but flawed player that needs to take better care of the ball.
With another star like Horford helping him out, Thomas won’t have to play hero ball so much, and think that the team rests in his hands. Also, having big man Kelly Olynyk healthy again is huge to, as he had quite a few games where he carried the Celtics offense when it seemed lackluster, especially in the home game against Golden State last year.
What makes the Celtics so exciting to watch compared to other teams is, they have a lot of guys that bring energy.
They play every game like it’s an NBA Finals game. They will have defensive juggernauts Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder back from the previous year.
Having Bradley back was a must because Stevens has made him into a lethal shooter as well, which is especially important because offense is what the Celtics lacked at times in the playoffs against Atlanta (they shot around 35% in that series).
Crowder was also playing with an injury in the first round last year of the playoffs, where he played very mediocre. Having him healthy could be what boosts this team to higher levels.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget to mention that big time effort guy Marcus Smart is back to get the crowd excited at the Garden. The only problem with him is, he needs to improve his scoring ability, as he dropped in field goal percentage from 46 % to 40% between the 2014-2015 season and 2015-2016 season. But his suffocating defense will scare opponents even more.
Overall, because Brad Stevens is a master at developing players, and bringing a young team to prominence, I don’t see why the Celtics couldn’t beat out the less dangerous Raptors team and win the Atlantic East Division. Their over-under for wins right now is somewhere around 50, which seems pretty reasonable.
They are one of the few teams that can compete with the Cavaliers or the Warriors, and they aren’t scared of anybody. To me, it’s kind of hard to sleep on this team that has upgraded on both sides of the ball and that puts everything into each game. One thing’s for sure, the Boston fans will have their back no matter what happens throughout the grueling 82 game season.