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Boston Celtics Predictions

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Last year the Boston Celtics finished the season one game above .500 at 41-40 overall.  That record was good enough to land them a third place finish in the division.  They were not a profitable team to back against the spread, posting a 36-42-3 ATS record.  They were 12.5 games back of the Atlantic Division leading New York Knicks.

There were a combination of issues for Boston last year.  Injuries and a lack of defense plagued this Celtics team.  They also suffered from questionable coaching moves from their head coach.  Rivers wanted to win games, not develop young players and with injuries abound the Celtics lacked the depth to make a serious run in the postseason.

Last Season
Atlantic
Overall Record
ATS Record
Over/Under
Draft Grade
3rd
41-40
36-42-3
42-38
B
2013-2014 Depth Chart
Position Starter 2nd 3rd 4th
Point Guard Rajon Rondo
Avery Bradley Phil Pressey
Shooting Guard Courtney Lee
MarShon Brooks Jordan Crawford Keith Bogans
Small Forward Jeff Green
Gerald Wallace
Power Forward Brandon Bass
Jared Sullinger Kelly Olynyk
Center Kris Humphries
Vitor Faverani

The Celtics will return one of the best guards in basketball with Rajon Rondo.  He is recovering from left knee surgery, but could be primed for a breakout season this year.  Boston is shallow at the guard position, with Avery Bradley second in line.  Bradley did not have the play making ability that Rondo brought to the court, and when Rondo was down with an injury defenses had a lot of success shutting him down.  If Rondo stays healthy the Celtics will benefit from one of the best guards in basketball.

Jeff Green showed flashes of greatness last year, but he is still an unproven talent.  We do not know if he can carry the offensive load for the entire season, but he will have a great opportunity to prove himself this year.  With Paul Pierce gone, there is a good chance Green will lead the team in scoring, which will be the first time someone other than Pierce has taken that title in the past 10 years.

Jared Sullinger is listed second on the depth chart, but he will be pushing towards that starting spot.  They also have a great back up in Kelly Olynyk.  The addition of Kris Humphries at Center makes an interesting combination of big men for Boston.  They will want Sullinger on the court because of his remarkable rebounding ability, and he may be stuck playing center more than expected since their most veteran player is Brandon Bass.  The combination of Sullinger and Humphries makes this Celtics team one of the best rebounding units in their division.

Schedule Breakdown

The Celtics did not get a lot of love from the schedule makers this year.  They have a total of 13 games being played without a day of rest, against an opponent that is coming off one or more days of rest.  That is a daunting task to overcome for a young team with a new head coach.

Boston will also have two different periods on the schedule where they will be playing a total of four games in five nights.  The only benefit they have from the schedule is their two games against opponents who will also be playing in the 4-in-5 scenario.  Their strength of schedule definitely falls in the more difficult half with all of these unfavorable matchup scenarios.

Full Schedule: ESPN

Scheduling Advantage/Disadvantage
4-in-5 +/-
Rest vs No Rest +/-
Aggregate +/-
Ease of Schedule Rank
0
-4
-4
20th
Odds (Courtesy of Bovada)
Over/Under Win Total
to Win the Eastern Conference
to Win the NBA Finals
29
66 to 1
150 to 1
Predictions

The Celtics are definitely going through a rebuilding phase.  The have several talented players that each bring a specific skill set to the team.  However, they lack that one skill set that means more than anything else, a prolific scorer.  Rondo has an uncanny ability to make even bad players look good, but in looking at the Celtics roster, there is nobody available for him to pass to.

Boston will be one of the better rebounding teams in the Atlantic division, and they should also be pretty solid on defense.  Humphries and Sullinger will pick up a lot of boards in the paint, and on the offensive side they may get a few tip ins.  Brandon Bass is one of the best defensive power forwards in the Eastern Conference, so with great rebounding and a solid defense they should play in a lot of close games.  They desperately need someone to step up as a big scoring threat because as it stands, that role belongs to Jeff Green, and he simply can’t compete with the rest of the league.

I have the Celtics finishing fourth in their division.  They are definitely going to be worse this season than they have been in the past, but luckily most teams in the NBA make the playoffs.  They have a chance to make a run at taking that 8th spot, but that will rely heavily on a lot of “ifs.”  If someone steps up as a scoring threat, if Rondo stays healthy, and if Brad Stevens can smoothly transition to the NBA then the Celtics will make the post season.  However, if they come up short in even one of those areas then they will be watching the playoffs from home this year.

Projections
Atlantic Division Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Projection
4th
6-10
31-51
Over 29
Celtics Resources
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