Boston Celtics Predictions
Last Year’s Record: 39-27
Key Losses: Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Greg Stiemsma
Key Additions: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jason Collins, Darko Milicic
Garnett is starting to show his age, but was rejuvenated in the playoffs. He’s not really a true center even though he has the size. He likes to drift towards the perimeter where he is an excellent shooter and passer.
There are few defenders that are better than Garnett. His plus/minus was superb and hits the defensive boards well. The problem with playing on the perimeter offensively is he rarely grabs a teammates miss. This is part of the reason Boston is so bad on the offensive glass.
As long as his knees hold up and he remains on the floor, Boston will be a defensive force and a contender in the East.
A terrific shot blocker who will protect the rim, but he’s not a very good rebounder for a seven-footer. Offensively you won’t want him to have the ball unless he’s right under the rim and can throw down a dunk.
Collins does a great job of defending traditional big men, but doesn’t do much for you on offense. He’s big and slow but plays smart. For his size he doesn’t rebound very well so fits right in with the rest of the Celtics.
At 35 you can expect to start seeing signs of a decline at some point, but last year he didn’t drop off hardly at all. The offense ran through him and yet he still hit 37% from behind the arc and got his teammates involved.
Somehow Pierce is a stud on defense even though he looks soft to me. What should help is Bradley taking on a bigger role defensively to allow Pierce to save some energy for the offensive side of the floor, but when it comes to big wings like LeBron Pierce is going to have to continue to step up.
Bass can knock down the midrange jumper and is a good pick and roll partner for Rondo. He is sort of a black hole in that when he gets the ball it doesn’t find it’s way back to his teammates. Defensively he’s tough and strong, but short for a power forward. He’s improving on the defensive end of the floor and should continue to get better.
Tough to say what you are going to get out of Green after he missed all of last season. I think he’s better playing as a big three than down in the post as a four. He’s quick enough to guard perimeter players, but gets man handled in the post.
There are some worries about Sullinger: undersized, conditioning, and his back. If he stays in shape and stays healthy he could be a pretty decent NBA player. He’s a physical player who can make the midrange jumper.
One of my favorite players in the game, Rondo creates shots for others but struggles to score on his own. He isn’t a very good outside shooter and a terrible foul shooter. If he could make outside shots it would at least force defenses to come out and guard him, instead they are more than willing to back up to try and eliminate the penetration. Rondo does do a good job of hitting the boards, but his defense slipped a little last year. The general consensus is he wasn’t giving as much effort in order to save himself for the offensive end.
As one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, his lateral quickness shut down opposing guards. He’s not a threat on offense, but he’s improved enough so he’s not a liability. Bradley can make outside shots if he’s open. He’s not a great ball handler, and needs to limit his turnovers.
Should be an effective sixth man for the Celtics due to his scoring punch he provides. Still a deadly shooter who made 38% of his shots from behind the arc a season ago, Terry can mix and match at the point or the two. His defense is not very good and he isn’t a good rebounder due to his short size. A good fit for this team because his strengths fill a need and his weakness plays to the rest of the team’s strength.
A very good shooter who makes more than 40% of his 3-point attempts. Has the athletic ability to get by his defender but doesn’t draw many fouls when finishing. He has the talent to be a pretty good player, but hasn’t really delivered the past couple of seasons. Boston is hoping a change of scenery has Lee playing up to his potential.
Boston’s offense was horrid last season, and it certainly won’t help losing their best shooter in Ray Allen. They had the worst offensive rebounding rate in the history of the league, despite having one of the best point guard glass cleaners in the game. The good news is that most of the deficiency on offense came from the bench, and the Celtics have done a massive cleaning of house. Adding Terry actually gives Boston someone who can create their own shot and takes the pressure off of Pierce and Rondo.
Defensively there really isn’t a better starting five. Chicago had a better defensive efficiency last year, but now that Avery Bradley is starting at the two instead of Allen that will change. The second team might struggle with a couple of rookies.
This team will be better on offense but slightly worse on defense. They simply don’t have the talent to hang with Miami, but second place in the East is up for grabs. Even if the Celtics don’t end up with the second seed, history has shown when the playoffs come around this team steps up and can win on the road. They are almost a lock to make the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but don’t plan on seeing them hoist up a championship banner.
Odds to Win the NBA Finals: 14/1
Odds to Win the Eastern Conference: 7/1
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