Boston exceed expectations last season but were one-&-done in postseason yet are they a team on the rise or lottery bound? We analyze their chances & try to determine if they are worthy of our picks.
The Celtics will have more guards in camp than Colorado’s Supermax but is this a case of quantity over quality? A year ago the C’s got what they wanted in point guard Marcus Smart who was tabbed with the sixth pick overall and has been a boon to Boston’s backcourt. In addition to Smart, Boston currently boasts veteran guards Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner, Chris Baab and Phil Pressey. After Thursday night the Celtics now have three more.
President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has accumulated a boatload of draft picks via the various trades he has swung during his tenure and had four at his disposal on Thursday night when the Celtics picked 16th, 28th, 33rd and 45th. And though Ainge reportedly tried to move up in the draft to fetch small forward Justise Winslow it was not to be and therefore tapped Louisville guard Terry Rozier as the newest member of the Boston Celtics. When Boston was called upon to make their second of two first-round picks and Ainge couldn’t resist Georgia State’s shooting guard R. J. Hunter. Boston was quickly on the board again early in the second round when Ainge pulled the trigger on power forward Jordan Mickey of LSU but then began jonesing for yet another backcourt addition when he claimed William & Mary guard Marcus Thornton with the team’s final pick in this year’s draft.
Boston’s NBA Odds
Offshore books are offering NBA odds on the Celtics to win the championship of anywhere from +5000 at BetDSI.com to +10000 at GTBets.com. That’s pie-in-the-sky nonsense for a team that is still very young but improving. This is a club that won 42 games last season and squeaked into the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Many Boston fans were hoping that the Green would be a draft lottery entry and assumed as much until head coach Brad Stevens flipped the script and turned these young guns into gunslingers.
Boston’s Chances in 2016
Danny Ainge and the Boston brass will view the NBA Summer League as an opportunity to figure out how many of their guards will stick and who will be moving along. There is a possibility that Ainge could make a deal that would lighten the depth chart in the backcourt but one thing we do know is that Boston will not be the first team in NBA history to carry nine guards.
Up front the Celtics are counting on Tyler Zeller and the promising Kelly Olynyk to be their mainstays up front while Brandon Bass will again be starting at power forward but hopefully pushed by rookie Jordan Mickey. Evan Turner can be shifted easily from a big guard to small forward where he toiled throughout last season with Jae Crowder as his backup.
The Celtics’ current roster has been built by Ainge but orchestrated masterfully by head coach Brad Stevens. The team is young yet they respond well to Stevens who came into his role as a neophyte to the NBA coaching ranks raising eyebrows around the league by jockeying a club into contention that was written off as lacking enough experience and having too little talent to compete.
This coming season will be interesting to say the least. The kids have had a taste of the postseason and that experience never hurts. Yet they are welcoming at least one and possibly four rookies into the fold. Their lack of a three-point shooting sniper hurt them last year and it will be their Achilles Heel again if they don’t find their long-range assassin.