Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

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Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

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Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:05 pm

https://hardwoodhoudini.com/2017/07/16/can-boston-win-east/


Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?



by Eric Cross


1 hour agoFollow @EricCross04



Have all the offseason roster changes put Boston in a better position to win the conference this season?

We’re coming up on two months since the 2016-17 Boston Celtics season ended. In those two months, the roster has undergone plenty of significant changes.

The biggest move so far has been signing Gordon Hayward to a max contract. Boston had two glaring weaknesses to fix coming into this off-season and they fixed one with this signing.  After not having a reliable second scoring option last season, Isaiah Thomas now has Hayward to help him shoulder the scoring load.

To financially be able to make the Hayward signing happen, a couple of fan favorites had to leave town. First, Boston rescinded its qualifying offer to Kelly Olynyk, thus making him an unrestricted free agent. After losing out on Hayward, it didn’t take long for the Miami Heat to swoop in and sign Olynyk to a four year, 50-million-dollar contract.

That one was an obvious decision and most of us assumed Olynyk wouldn’t be re-signed anyway. So, when you really think about it, it’s not too major of a loss.

The move that stings the most was trading Avery Bradley and a 2019 2nd round pick to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris. Losing that 2nd round pick is really going to derail Danny Ainge’s master plan. Obviously, the part that stings is losing the player that had been a Celtic longer than any other player on the roster. It was tough but Boston needed to clear more cap space to sign Hayward.

Hopefully, emerging young stars Jaylen Brown and #3 overall pick Jayson Tatum can soften the blow some. The talent is there for both to be major contributors this season but we can’t forget that they both aren’t even old enough to legally consume alcohol yet.

With all the roster shuffling, the question that is on most Boston fans minds needs to be looked into. Can Boston dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers and win the Eastern Conference?

Even with the losses of Olynyk and Bradley, Boston is still a better team after signing Hayward. Like I previously mentioned, Boston had one consistent scorer last season and that was Thomas. Nobody else on the roster could step up on a regular basis, which killed Boston at times last season. If Thomas was getting double teamed or having an off game, it was going to be a long night for the green and white.

That weakness was put on full display in the Eastern Conference Finals when Boston would go cold for a stretch and quickly find themselves on the wrong end of a long unanswered scoring run by Cleveland. As much as we all love Thomas, he can’t do it himself. With Hayward in the mix, Boston has become a much more balanced and dangerous offensive unit.

Hayward can score in bunches and do so in a number of different ways. Last season was his best yet offensively. He averaged a career high 21.9 points per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from downtown. That type of production just wasn’t there for Boston behind Thomas last season.

While Hayward is a solid defender in his own right, he’s taller than Bradley by four inches and would have difficulties against some of the better guards in the conference. That is where Bradley was so valuable. Thomas is almost non-existent on the defensive end but was able to hide that behind the defensive prowess of Bradley.


Luckily, Boston still has their other backcourt defensive stalwart, Marcus Smart, on the roster. Whether he steps into the starting lineup or remains a big-minute bench piece, Smart is going to have to fill that defensive void when Boston has to try and slow down the likes of John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, etc.

The area Boston appears to be still lacking in is rebounding. With Amir Johnson, Bradley, and Olynyk gone, so are three of Boston’s top five rebounders from last season. Hayward is an adequate rebounder and should help some, but many expected Boston to go get a big rebounder this off-season and that hasn’t been the case just yet.

However, there have been some minor rebounding upgrades that could benefit the bench at the very least. Forget about Morris. He might be 6’9 but Bradley was a better rebounder than he was last season. His presence on the roster isn’t going to fix the Celtics rebounding woes.

Three additions that could make an impact on the glass are Aron Baynes, Ante Zizic, and Guerschon Yabusele. The question with all three is how much will they play? Baynes figures to get the most minutes out of this trio and could be a big help as the first big man off the bench.

Last season with the Pistons, Baynes averaged 4.4 rebounds in just 15.5 minutes per game. That might not seem like much but when you extrapolate that out to a 36-minute basis, he would have averaged 10.2 rebounds per game.

It remains to be seen how Zizic and Yabusele will be used early in the season. There’s a chance they could both be ticketed for Maine in the G-League. They both could benefit to get more experience before becoming factors in Boston. Both have a chance to be solid rebounders for the Celtics at some point this season.

The last part of this team that could really help the Celtics reach that next step is their pair of #3 draft picks from 2016 and 2017, Brown and Tatum. Celtics fans should definitely be excited about these two, but how much of an impact will they have this season in a crowded Boston roster?


During his rookie season, Brown averaged less than 20 minutes per game. That number figures to rise some this season especially if Boston decides to go small with Jae Crowder at the four, Hayward at the three, and Brown as the other guard.

Both Brown and Tatum have already flashed star potential in their young careers. The energy and athleticism they bring should be a major boost to Boston’s second unit. A unit that lacked reliable scoring options last year now has two that can score consistently.

Tatum’s offensive capabilities were one reason Danny Ainge was so enamored with the former Duke star. He can shoot from the perimeter, drive to the paint, and dare I say has a mid-range game that reminds me of a young Paul Pierce.

So, back to my original question. Are the Celtics now good enough to win the East? After looking at the strengths and weaknesses on this roster I believe they are very close. The conference has gotten weaker as a whole. There are a clear-cut top four teams again with Boston, Cleveland, Washington, and Toronto. The Wizards and Raptors shouldn’t be taken lightly but the talent on the Celtics and Cavaliers should once again have them squaring off in the conference finals.

It’s a long season. As it stands today, I wouldn’t bet money on Boston beating Cleveland in a seven-game series. However, I do believe it would be a much closer series than the one played back in May. The continued development of Brown and Tatum could put the Celtics in a much better position when the playoffs roll around next spring.


This Celtics team is extremely talented. It also helps that they have a great coach at the helm to get this team to the next step. Don’t forget either, Boston’s arrow is pointing up and better seasons are on the horizon. I mean, LeBron can’t play forever.




bob


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Last edited by bobheckler on Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by gyso on Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:33 pm

Last year, the Celtics had a very small point differential.  That lead to many close games.  I expect that the point differential will increase (improve) leading to less close games and maybe more Gino time at the end of home games.

I have read where some have said that we will have a better team but we won't win many more games, if any.  I guess their point was that there will be less close games, but we won't necessarily win more.  I don't get that reasoning.

If we won't have to play our starters so much in the fourth quarter, they are better rested for the long haul.  If our bench gets more playing time, that also is a good thing for them and our team.

I expect that our depth will again help us through the long regular season, especially against the lesser talented teams.  Whether that success translates into the playoffs when rotations become tighter remains to be seen.

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by sinus007 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:48 pm

Hi,
I voted no based on 2 assumed conditions: the rosters remain as they are now and no injuries to the prime players.
I said "rosters" meaning 2 teams - Cavs and Celtics. Oh, and one more thing: I understood the question as winning ECF (not the first place in EC after regular season).
Also on the subject. Sure, it'd be nice to win ECF and go the Finals but realistically speaking we don't have a prayer against GSW. So, it's academic to debate about ECF when all I care is #18.

AK
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by gyso on Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:34 pm

I took the question to be winning the East in the regular season. Can the Celtics win in the playoffs? It is too soon to tell.

We will have to wait and see.

gyso

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:52 pm

Sorry if I was unclear.

I am asking if we can win the EC Finals, not just be the #1 seed. Been there, done that.

We have gained Hayward and Tatum. Brown is a year older. We lost Avery but Rozier is stepping up. Jonas vs Theis? Too soon to tell, of course, but Theis comes from Europe with some solid bonafides (3x Euro Champ and 2017 DPOY). Lost Kelly and Zeller and Amir, but gained Baynes, who is a bigger banger than all three of them combined.

You can do your own analyses of our competition.


bob


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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:55 pm

Big question - will Haywood and Crowder both be playing at the same time ? - Where ?

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by gyso on Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:23 pm

bobheckler wrote:Sorry if I was unclear.

I am asking if we can win the EC Finals, not just be the #1 seed.  Been there, done that.

We have gained Hayward and Tatum.  Brown is a year older.  We lost Avery but Rozier is stepping up.  Jonas vs Theis?  Too soon to tell, of course, but Theis comes from Europe with some solid bonafides (3x Euro Champ and 2017 DPOY).  Lost Kelly and Zeller and Amir, but gained Baynes, who is a bigger banger than all three of them combined.

You can do your own analyses of our competition.


bob


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Bob,

I would like to change my voter to Other. Can you edit the poll to allow for vote cancellation?

gyso

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by jrleftfoot on Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:27 pm

It's hard to imagine that Crowder and Hayward won't spend time on the court together . I would guess darn near every game. "Where" depends on who else is on the court.I don't expect either to play the 1 or the 5.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by worcester on Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:45 pm

Bob, can the Celts win the East? Yes, definitely. So much can happen to our opponents along the way to make that happen. Will they win the East? Maybe.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by wideclyde on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:34 pm

Yes, the Cs can win the East! Lots of talent, excellent coaching, good core, know how to work and win, etc even if a very young team.

Gyso, lots of the close games from last season were due to rebounding deficiencies. Better rebounding equals fewer of those close games.

I tied both thoughts together because I feel that if we are still in the bottom half of the league in rebounding that we will probably not win the East and will play many more of those close games that Gyso mentioned in his post. Both scenarios will leave us just about as frustrated as we were this year even though the Cs improved in 2017 from their 2016 season.

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by NYCelt on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:28 am

Not with Cleveland in the East. Not for another season or two. Not with the present roster.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by bobheckler on Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:57 am

gyso wrote:
bobheckler wrote:Sorry if I was unclear.

I am asking if we can win the EC Finals, not just be the #1 seed.  Been there, done that.

We have gained Hayward and Tatum.  Brown is a year older.  We lost Avery but Rozier is stepping up.  Jonas vs Theis?  Too soon to tell, of course, but Theis comes from Europe with some solid bonafides (3x Euro Champ and 2017 DPOY).  Lost Kelly and Zeller and Amir, but gained Baynes, who is a bigger banger than all three of them combined.

You can do your own analyses of our competition.


bob


.

Bob,

I would like to change my voter to Other.  Can you edit the poll to allow for vote cancellation?

gyso


gyso,

I have now changed the poll to allow for vote cancellation.


bob


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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by gyso on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:34 am

Thanks, Bob.  I changed to Other.

Can we win in the East?  Yes, that is the conference we are in and stranger things have happened.

Will we win in the East?  No.  We should put up more of a fight in the ECF, but barring any major injuries, we still get beat by the Cavs.

The difference in only one word in the sentence changes the answer to the question.

gyso

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:44 am

The King looks like he is NOT slowing down and they know how to rest him for the playoffs, that will not last forever, but at least another year or 2. Playoffs is about the elite/greatest players stepping up at that stage, until proven otherwise we don't have those type of players yet, but we are obviously on the right track....so not this year, but maybe this young team will grow faster than we expect, maybe Cavs have one little key injury. Anything is possible, but gotta stick with Cavs right now.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by dboss on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:59 pm

I answered no. I do not think that Boston has adequately addressed weaknesses on the team that would allow them to beat the Cavs in the ECF. I am not even certain that they are better than the Raptors.

With so many roster changes and unknown starter and rotation assignments it would be a guess one way or the other.

I probably will have a better idea about this next spring.

I think we should be an improved rebounding team.

I do not see anybody on the team who is a rim protector

I think the Team's overall 3 point shooting percentage is going to go down.

I also do not know how good this team will be defensively given that fact that we will now have 2 starters playing big minutes that are not in the conversation for being defenders.

These questions will be answered but as of today I do not have an answer.

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by mrkleen09 on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:28 pm

Yes. 100%.

Will they? Not sure. But talentwise, particularly when not all the chips have fallen yet - the Celtics absolutely can compete with anyone.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by kdp59 on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:50 pm

Cav's are shifting the deck chairs now folks. They replaced Deron and Derrick (the Williams) with Calderon and Jeff Green.

they are getting old and once it becomes apparent the King is bailing by mid-season to Greener pastures the next year, they will be ready to tumble.

I can see them not even making the East finals this year to be honest.

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by NYCelt on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:48 pm

kdp59 wrote:Cav's are shifting the deck chairs now folks. They replaced Deron and Derrick (the Williams) with Calderon and Jeff Green.

they are getting old and once it becomes apparent the King is bailing by mid-season to Greener pastures the next year, they will be ready to tumble.

I can see them not even making the East finals this year to be honest.


kdp,

Cavs maybe not even making the East finals?

Now that is a bold prediction!

We'll see how the season flushes out, but I'll give you credit for original critical thinking and looking at all sides of the equation, regardless of outcome.

Regards
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by gyso on Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:08 pm

kdp59 wrote:Cav's are shifting the deck chairs now folks. They replaced Deron and Derrick (the Williams) with Calderon and Jeff Green.

they are getting old and once it becomes apparent the King is bailing by mid-season to Greener pastures the next year, they will be ready to tumble.

I can see them not even making the East finals this year to be honest.


If the King seems to be bailing, does he get traded for a bucket of balls and a slim Jim? (Relatively speaking).

Then Leaveland definitely does not make the EC finals.

Smiles for everyone. Very Happy

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by dboss on Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:41 pm

kdp59 wrote:Cav's are shifting the deck chairs now folks. They replaced Deron and Derrick (the Williams) with Calderon and Jeff Green.

they are getting old and once it becomes apparent the King is bailing by mid-season to Greener pastures the next year, they will be ready to tumble.

I can see them not even making the East finals this year to be honest.


I do not see the core of the Cavs as old. Kyrie is 25, Thompson is 26 and Love is 28. Lebron is 32 and I have seen no drop off in his game.

Yes Celtics fans can wait for age to catch up with them or assume James leaves after this year but I do not see that happening.

Dboss



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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by kdp59 on Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:38 pm

This rumor is part of a storyline: 148 more rumors
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. – via USA Today Sports
Dan Gilbert, David Griffin, Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports. – via USA Today Sports
Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


Just sayin' he feels he has an out now, blame his leaving next year on the owner. are you telling me if LeBron already has his bags (for the next year) packed for Hollywood, that he;s going t be all in on those 40 minutes games come playoff time. You telling me the rest of the team won't quit too?

man this one is easy to see.
James is 32 now
Smith 31
Korver 38
Frye 34
Jefferson 37

any of those are at an age that can go down anytime with injuries.

gotta be ready to pounce, when the big dogs starts to lose it and this could be the year.
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by dboss on Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:30 pm

kdp59 wrote:This rumor is part of a storyline: 148 more rumors
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. – via USA Today Sports
Dan Gilbert, David Griffin, Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports. – via USA Today Sports
Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


Just sayin' he feels he has an out now, blame his leaving next year on the owner. are you telling me if LeBron already has his bags (for the next year) packed for Hollywood, that he;s going t be all  in on those 40 minutes games come playoff time. You telling me the rest of the team won't quit too?

man this one is easy to see.
James is 32 now
Smith 31
Korver 38
Frye 34
Jefferson 37

any of those are at an age that can go down anytime with injuries.

gotta be ready to pounce, when the big dogs starts to lose it and this could be the year.

Lebron James is not a quitter.  A lot can happen between now and the end of the season.   Injuries happen.  old players are more at risk than younger players.  So yes that could dethrone them.  But the same thing could happen to Boston.  What happens if Horford goes down or IT hip starts acting up and requires surgery.  

And what about the Raptors?  The Celtics have yet to prove that they can beat them.  What about Washington?

Until these teams hit the court I think it will be mid season before we will be able to judge how good the Celtics will be.  Again 9 new players coming together while the main competitors put teams on the floor that have more experience playing with one another.

I definitely will revisit this question down the road but as of now the Celtics are whatever they are on paper only.

dboss
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by swish on Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:11 pm

dboss wrote:
kdp59 wrote:This rumor is part of a storyline: 148 more rumors
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. – via USA Today Sports
Dan Gilbert, David Griffin, Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports. – via USA Today Sports
Free Agency, Trade, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers


Just sayin' he feels he has an out now, blame his leaving next year on the owner. are you telling me if LeBron already has his bags (for the next year) packed for Hollywood, that he;s going t be all  in on those 40 minutes games come playoff time. You telling me the rest of the team won't quit too?

man this one is easy to see.
James is 32 now
Smith 31
Korver 38
Frye 34
Jefferson 37

any of those are at an age that can go down anytime with injuries.

gotta be ready to pounce, when the big dogs starts to lose it and this could be the year.

Lebron James is not a quitter.  A lot can happen between now and the end of the season.   Injuries happen.  old players are more at risk than younger players.  So yes that could dethrone them.  But the same thing could happen to Boston.  What happens if Horford goes down or IT hip starts acting up and requires surgery.  

And what about the Raptors?  The Celtics have yet to prove that they can beat them.  What about Washington?

Until these teams hit the court I think it will be mid season before we will be able to judge how good the Celtics will be.  Again 9 new players coming together while the main competitors put teams on the floor that have more experience playing with one another.

I definitely will revisit this question down the road but as of now the Celtics are whatever they are on paper only.

dboss

" I definitely will revisit this question down the road but as of now the Celtics are whatever they are on paper only."

Good thinking dboss - At this time of year there are so many ifs involved and I guess that it's human nature to put a positive spin on the home town favorite. We shall see how it all shakes out, down the road.

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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by bobc33 on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:52 pm

dross mentioned IT's hip as something to watch out for and I agree.  Has anyone heard anything current on it?  Last I heard he was making progress and it appeared surgery would not be needed.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable if word came out he was progressing nicely and will be ready to go full speed first day of training camp!
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Re: Can the Boston Celtics Win the East?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:58 pm

bobc33 wrote:dross mentioned IT's hip as something to watch out for and I agree.  Has anyone heard anything current on it?  Last I heard he was making progress and it appeared surgery would not be needed.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable if word came out he was progressing nicely and will be ready to go full speed first day of training camp!


that's got to be a good sign that surgery was not needed, with surgery there a long and painful rehab, if you can avoid it- all good.
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