Following a tumultuous offseason, the Boston Celtics are set to sail into uncharted waters. Since 2007, Boston has been considered a perennial title contender. After dealing away one of the all time Celtic greats in Paul Pierce, their defensive stopper in Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers, this team is not expected to contend like its fan base is accustomed to seeing.
Rajon Rondo may be the only marquee name on the roster, but this club has many pieces that possess the capability of putting it all together and having themselves a respectable year. Obviously a lot has to go right for the Green, but in all likelihood, this team is destined for the lower realms of the Conference.
If the Green team can stay healthy and improve not only individually, but also as a group, then they’ll beat the teams they should beat and give the contenders a run for their money every now and again.
The success of this club will depend on how well Brad Stevens can adjust to the NBA game, the effectiveness of Rondo upon returning and whether or not this unique cast of characters can mesh together in a cohesive manner.
Rookie big man Kelly Olynyk has sparkled in the preseason and enters his first professional season with a legitimate chance of taking home the rookie of the year honors. In watching him play, Olynyk looks like a version of Dirk Nowitzki in the making. He loves to step out and knock down long-range jumpers. His versatility should certainly benefit the Celtics offensive attack.
Avery Bradley is hands-down, one of the best on ball defenders the NBA has to offer. His presence, coupled with the tenacious play of Gerald Wallace and the potential Vitor Faverani brings to the table as a stopper at the rim, Boston should be a decent defensive club.
Marshon Brooks, Jordan Crawford and Phil Pressey should provide the Celtics with some offensive firepower off the bench. A healthy Jared Sullinger should also continue to develop. And we are all aware of what Rondo can do for a lineup that projects to be constantly in flux.
Then there is Jeff Green. Green has shown flashes of super stardom in spurts over the course of career, but he ever so often disappears. This season he’ll be the focal point of the Celtics offense and he will be called upon to hit big shots in key moments. The talent is undoubtedly there; it’s just a matter of putting it all together. His time is now, as he has a chance to propel his career to new heights.
Keith Bogans – SG/SF
Jordan Crawford – SG
Phil Pressey – PG/SG
MarShon Brooks – PG/SG
Brandon Bass – PF
Vitor Faverani – C
Courtney Lee – SG
Projected Starting Five:
Kelly Olynyk – C
Jared Sullinger – PF
Jeff Green – SF
Gerald Wallace – SG
Avery Bradley – PG
What to Watch for:
Aside from Rondo, Bradley, Olynyk and Sullinger are the Celtics most valuable pieces. Seeing steady progression from this trio is important, as they figure to be the future of the franchise.
All eyes and ears will be paying attention as to whether Danny Ainge makes Rondo available for trade.
Can Jeff Green live up to the contract he signed or will float along like he has to this point in his career?
Celtics will finish the season with a 32-50 record and miss the playoffs, although I feel this group will open a lot of eyes along the way. If they stay healthy, Rondo and Green show up on a nightly basis, the roster is kept in tact and they buy into what Brad Stevens is preaching then they could conceivably win up to 37 games in my opinion.