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2018-19 Season Preview Extravaganza | How In The World Do The Celtics Have So Much Depth?

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. We’re going worst to first in order of last year’s standings and telling you everything you need to know. Next up, a Boston Celtics that is so incredibly deep it’s not fair.

Notable Players Acquired: PF Robert Williams (draft)

Notable Players Lost: C Greg Monroe (free agency)

Recapping 2017-18: 

After leaving Utah for Boston, Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome in injury the season opener which left him out for the season.  

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving played in just 60 games.

It was a great season for team building, especially for young guys like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Although that didn’t lead to the playoffs, it led to a lottery pi . . . 

Wait, never mind. That’s how things should have gone. Instead, this team finished the season 55-27, and fell a game short of the NBA Finals. 

It was a true team effort. We saw a jump from Brown, and Tatum looks like a future star (how about that trade, Philadelphia?).  

Al Horford is the league’s forever-underrated big man, and Marcus Smart will steal your lunch money and eat whatever he buys in front of you. This is an extremely likable team with so many guys who can play multiple positions. You never want to say injuries are good, but Boston learned it can be confident with a slew of guys like Terry Rozier because of those injuries. 

The offseason wasn’t a big one for Boston, but it wasn’t supposed to be after trading for Irving and signing Hayward. The Celtics will get natural progression (are you sick of me writing that yet?) from their young core, and Hayward’s comeback will be like signing an All-Star free agent. Hayward is a player who can score at all three levels and is the kind of selfless player who will fit right in with this group. 

You look at all of these players and think offense is where the Celtics made their money last season. That’s not exactly the case. The Celtics were 20th in points per game and third in points allowed.

The Big Question:

Why is everyone freaking out about how Brad Stevens will distribute minutes?

First off, Stevens is a genius. And depth, more than ever, is such a valuable asset in the NBA.

With a starting five of Irving, Hayward, Brown, Tatum and Horford, Stevens will have players like Rozier, Smart and Marcus Morris coming off the bench. That’s about as good of an eight-man rotation as you’ll find in the league. 

I don’t understand what the problem is. Morris is the one who will play less minutes, and that’s fine. He doesn’t have the upside or the versatility as Brown or Tatum.

This is the question that everyone’s asked this offseason, and I guess I’m a little confused by it. We’ll also see Smart and Rozier play a bit less, but 82 games is a lot of games and it’s not like Irving has a history of great health. All of these guys will get their opportunity. And playing a few less minutes per game won’t be a problem for anyone as long as this team is winning, which I think it’ll do plenty of. 

How Do The Wolves Beat Them?

It’ll be tough – and not just for the Wolves, for any team. What makes Boston so good is its ability to switch defensively. I’d feed Karl-Anthony Towns the ball all game and hope he can get going – and if so, maybe attract a double team so he can kick it out for open looks. 

Defensively, the Wolves will have to stay disciplined, especially at the 3-point line. Boston just 37.7 percent from deep last season, a mark that ranked second in the league. 

Ratke’s Prediction: 

I have the Celtics as the No. 1 team in the East, right above the Raptors and 76ers, respectively. This is the team to beat in the East as long as it keeps its core intact. And if Brown and/or Tatum can emerge as All-Star caliber players, this could be the team of the decade. If the Celtics win a championship, it feels like they should send at least a picture of a ring to the Nets.  

Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less

Is it possible that the Celtics have too many guys? That’s a dumb question. 

So When Can I See Them?  

The Celtics travel to play the Timberwolves at Target Center on Dec. 1. Minnesota travels to Boston on Jan. 2.