ESPN model predicts Celtics No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

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ESPN model predicts Celtics No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

Post by bobheckler on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:22 am

Boston Celtics projections: ESPN model predicts Celtics No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

Updated on August 3, 2017 at 12:56 PM Posted on August 3, 2017 at 12:55 PM

Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics (4) shakes hands with Western Conference Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz (20) after competing in the skills competition during NBA All-Star Saturday Night events in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(Gerald Herbert)

By Tom Westerholm

The Boston Celtics were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, thanks to an impressive regular season as well as a Cleveland Cavaliers team that was much more concerned with reaching the NBA Finals healthy than earning home-court advantage.

The Celtics got better this offseason, adding Gordon Hayward to their core while also bolstering the bench with young, cheap talent on rookie-scale deals. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, still employ LeBron James (and thus are probably still the favorites in the Eastern Conference), but they will have the oldest roster in the NBA, and that might be even more pronounced if Kyrie Irving successfully forces his way out of town.

According to Kevin Pelton and ESPN's real plus/minus model (Insider), the Celtics are projected to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference once again with just over 49 wins. Why so low? Pelton notes that the Celtics outperformed a low point differential of 2.6, which is usually a good indicator of wins and losses (you can credit The King in the Fourth for a whole bunch of close wins). Those wins didn't translate to the postseason, which is where the Hayward addition should make a big difference.

It's worth noting that winning the Eastern Conference with 49 wins would spark the whole "Man, the Eastern Conference is bad" conversation again. Given their Eastern Conference schedule (and the noted improvements to the team), it would be a surprise to many Celtics observers if the team didn't outperform this model.

A couple of bad-news projections for Boston: The Brooklyn Nets landed the fourth-worst predicted finish behind (ahead of?) the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings. The Lakers, meanwhile, are projected to finish well outside the range in which it would be likely that their pick would convey -- at 33 wins, they would be expected to finish with the seventh-worst record in the league.

That Lakers record would be a bit of a tough blow for Boston's protected 2018 Lakers pick. The good news? Sacramento is projected to finish last in the West. If you missed it yesterday, here's a look at the many, many directions that pick could go (and why Sacramento being really bad for the foreseeable future would be a good thing for the Celtics).

MY NOTE:  Brooklyn added Crabbe, Carroll, Mozgov and Russell and lost Lopez.  Yeah, that should be a better team.  Sacto has signed veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter.  Zebo has a 2 year contract and, since his game has never depended upon athleticism, he should be a help to the Kings.  George Hill is a good point guard and has a 3 year contract.  I'm expecting Sacto to be better over the next 2 years than they are being credited for (all bets are off if ownership opens their mouths).  I hate to say this, but the Nyets Golden Egg that nobody wanted to trade away might not be so golden and the pick via LA/Sacto might be ok but not great too.

As far as our record goes, it wouldn't say good things if we lead the EC and only have 49 wins.  It wouldn't say good things if we only get 49 wins, #1 in  the east or not, since we got 53 last year.  We lost Avery Bradley, that's a big hit, but we gained Gordon Hayward and Rozier is coming on strong to replace AB.  It's the loss of our bigs and the addition of all these rookies that will hurt us.  After all our bitching last year about how weak our front court is it would be the height of irony if we lost 4 games off last year's total because our front court got weaker. Young teams do not win championships and we are quite young.


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Re: ESPN model predicts Celtics No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

Post by sinus007 on Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:06 am

I guess August is a month of predictions. Fun time.
ESPN says Celtics will get 49 wins. I say Celtics will have between 56 and 58 wins (sorry, I allowed myself some room for error).
They lost AB - D-man, but acquired Hayward who is a better scorer himself and, who will take focus of the opposition's defense off IT. Also, it'll be the second year for JB which, judging by what we saw in the first, is very promising. I don't know how the absence of KO will affect the team but hope that some combination of Morris, Yabu, Zizic, Baynes and Semi will be enough.
Of course, the beginning of the season won't be pretty having so many new faces but, I think, after 25-30 games they will find their groove.


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