2018-2019 Off the Glass Team Preview Series: Boston Celtics
The 2018-2019 NBA season starts October 16th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Boston Celtics.
55-27, 2nd in the Atlantic Division. Lost 3-4 in 3rd Round
The Celtics season began with a shock when prized free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward shattered his ankle six minutes into the season opener. His season-long absence and Kyrie Irving’s eventual exit in March due to complications from a prior knee injury allowed the young nucleus of Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, and Terry Rozier to emerge as difference makers on the playoff stage. Ultimate glue guy and five-time All-Star Al Horford had his best all-around season at age 31, appearing in 72 contests and upping his game during the Celtics extensive playoff run. After besting both the up and coming Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first and second rounds, the Celtics bowed out to a veteran Cleveland Cavaliers team led by LeBron James.
Greg Monroe, C.
Brad Wanamaker, G. Robert Williams, C.
Player to Watch:
Gordon Hayward, F.
The Celtics may be in for a slow start with an abbreviated training camp and reintegrating their two most prominent playmakers in Kyrie and Hayward. Hayward admits to being behind schedule and still regaining his feel on the court but with his skill set a perfect fit for the Celtics he should remain effective. Continuity along the rest of the roster and Horford’s all-around effectiveness should provide plenty of relief in the early going.
The young and talented wing tandem of Tatum and Brown are the envy of the league as they outperform their rookie contracts. Marcus Smart is a consistent outside shot from multiple All-Star selections and his form is far from broken, unlike the usual state of his hands- stop punching things!
A subplot worthy of having one eye on: Terry Rozier’s playoff run proved to most that he is a starting caliber guard and has made public his desires to be treated and paid as such. With both his and Marcus Morris’ contracts expiring at seasons end, how long will they toe the line if Hayward struggles in the starting line up on top of making nearly four times their salaries combined?
Coach Brad Stevens has set the goal of limiting individual playing time to thirty minutes a night, a reasonable feat when you consider their depth and postseason aspirations.
Adding Semi Ojeleye, Aron Baynes, and Daniel Theis to those previously mentioned, I count twelve guys the Celtics can trust on the court in regular-season matchups, along with Brad Wanamaker, Guerchson Yabusele, and Robert Williams all well within their ability to add their name to that list. The Celtics will depth teams to death.
Worst Case Scenario:
Hayward is a shell of his former self, Tatum struggles to adjust with defenses keying in on him, and Horford is finally in decline. The Bench With Attitude becomes more bark in the locker room than bite on the court. A surprise first-round exit has Kyrie questioning the specialness of what has been built and bolts for New York.
Best Case Scenario:
Celtics are hot out of the gate and run rampant on a criminally weak Eastern Conference. Kyrie hits another level efficiency wise, inserting himself into the MVP conversation while the other four starters garner All-Star Honors. Behind home court advantage they take a tired top-heavy Warriors team to a seventh game with a chance going into the 4th…
63-19, 1st in Atlantic Division.