The Celtics had a disappointing year last season. Especially after coming off a eastern conference championship appearance. They lost to the Heat in six games, and I expected another run in the playoffs during the 2020-2021 season.
That didn’t happen, instead, the Celtics went 36-36 and had to play two games in the play-in tournament. They swept past the play-in tournament opponents and had to play the Durant-driven Nets in the first round. The Celtics were no match to the Nets, and lost the series in five games.
Anytime after a fifty-win season, a five hundred record will be disappointing. However, this season was even more disappointing when you realize it was about the same roster as before. It was a challenge to watch the 2020-21 Celtics, but how about this year?
There were two huge changes in the Celtics front office. One is long-term president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge retired. Brad Stevens, the former coach, became the new president of basketball operations.
Brad Stevens led the Celtics to seven straight playoff appearances and 3 conference championships. The Celtics never made the finals with Stevens, but he will be missed as the head coach.
The new head coach is Ime Udoka, who played several in the NBA. He was also an assistant coach for many years also. Here are some of the teams he helped coach: the Spurs (2012-2019), 76ers for a season and last year’s Nets team.
This is a great option for the coach, all the teams when he was an assistant made the playoffs. Also, he worked with the great Gregg Popovich for many years (including the 2018 USA team). Hopefully, he has the same work ethic and talent as Popovich.
The biggest player the Celtics lost in free agency was Kemba Walker, who will be missed. He played well in his two years as a Celtics. The Celtics added Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson for guards. Both are solid players, and Schroder will probably start for the Celtics.
Secure your seat for the 2021-22 season ☘️
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 27, 2021
The Celtics also got Al Horford back, who will help the Celtics’ shaky center situation. He’s played well his whole career, so we can expect 13 points and 7 rebounds for a season average.
Hopefully, he can make an all-star team like his last year in Boston.
For draft picks, there were a lot of second-round players and no first-rounders. Most likely none of them will start this year. The starting five will look similar to last year, but with a couple of changes. Besides Kemba, it will be Dennis, and Al will start at the center.
The Bench will be improved, they have Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson, Enis Kanter, and Payton Pritchard. The few moves the Celtics did helped the team solidify a bench, they might have a weaker starting five, but have a better bench.
Celtics Championship Contender | The Verdict
The Celtics will have a winning record if they can stay healthy, but still not strong enough to win the East. However, the Celtics could win a series or two. The Celtics are a weird team to predict, just think about the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Celtics.
This team can look mediocre one year, then pull off a playoff run the next. The Celtics have done this the second half of the 2010s and that reason makes them unpredictable. A lot of the success will be based on injuries and how Jayson Tatum plays.
The Celtics could make it to the conference finals, but that is the roof for the Celtics. The floor is a first-round exit to the Nets or Bucks. The Celtics aren’t championship contenders yet, but Stevens and Udoka will add additional pieces for the upcoming years.
Basically, the Celtics are a team trying to add stars to compete in a championship. Unfortunately, the Celtics will have to wait a year or two, before their contenders. My prediction for the Celtics is a 50-32 record and a loss to the Nets or Bucks in the second round.