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After A Rocky Season, How Will The Celtics Look In 2019-20?
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. What’s the order of the teams we’re previewing? It’s actually completely random! Now, a team looking to move forward with a more stable but less talented core.
Notable Players Acquired: Kemba Walker (sign-and-trade), Enes Kanter (free agency), Carsen Edwards (drafted), Romeo Langford (draft), Tremont Waters (drafted), Grant Williams (drafted)
Notable Players Lost: Kyrie Irving (free agency), Al Horford (free agency), Terry Rozier (trade), P.J. Dozier (free agency), Marcus Morris (free agency), Aron Baynes (trade)
What Went Down In 2018-19?
Quite a bit of unrest. Despite the obvious young and veteran talent on the roster, the Celtics could never put everything together. It seemed like there was a new piece of rumor or drama every day concerning Irving’s relationship with the Celtics’ young players, Jayson Tatum took a step back after a phenomenal rookie year and Gordon Hayward did not look like his old self.
All this resulted in an underwhelming season. While the Celtics finished with a solid record of 49-33 and earned home-court advantage in the playoffs, they were defeated relatively handily by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. For a team that had championship aspirations, that was not good enough.
The Offseason Was . . .
A mixed bag. While the Celtics lost Irving to the Nets, they were able to replace him with Kemba Walker, who will be a better leader for the rest of the young roster and will probably fit better into what the Celtics want to do as a team. That being said, losing Al Horford to a rival Sixers team stings. Horford anchored the Celtics’ defense and was an extremely important leader on and off the court for the team. The Celtics will be playing a lot smaller this season in the absence of Horford.
Boston had a solid draft, bringing in Grant Williams at a good value and taking a swing on Romeo Langford at No. 14. While it’s unclear exactly where they will fit into the rotation, the opportunity to play should be there for both of them. Williams, in particular, has an opportunity to really make an impact at a thin forward position.
The Big Question
Can Tatum return to form?
While it’s tempting to question Boston’s thin center position, if its young players live up to their potential, it won’t matter. Tatum has the potential to be one of the great players in the league but his game needs refinement. He will probably play both forward positions for Boston this year and he’ll need to figure out how to be more efficient. If that happens, Boston could be absolutely lethal. Walker and Brown on the perimeter and a healthy Hayward and Tatum on the wing is impressive.
This Writer’s Prediction
I think Boston underperformed last season and will bounce back. The Celtics seem to me like a team that could do some serious damage in the Eastern Conference and in the playoffs. If they hadn’t lost Horford I’d be penciling them into finals contention, but as things stand now I still want to see what they’ll figure out in terms of their bigs.
Boston has the recipe for a deep run. They have a great point guard, tons of shooting and a surprisingly deep bench of guys who know their role and execute it well. The question is what is going to happen when they have to face players like Joel Embiid without Horford.
I’m predicting a top-three finish and a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
Young, talented, athletic and newly outfitted with a great veteran point guard in his prime.