It was supposed to be a big offseason for the Celtics, but their trade attempts all failed and they were left with the option of patching things for this season in free agency. I was once high on the Celtics’ future odds before free agency, but since then things have taken a drastic turn for the worse.
- Boston Celtics Championship Odds: (+1800)
- Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Odds: (+600)
- Boston Celtics Season Win Total: Under 44.5 (-130); Over 44.5 (+100)
Kemba Walker’s Injury
A few weeks ago, it looked like Kemba Walker was going to be ready for the season. However, as camp has opened, that narrative has disappeared. It now looks like Walker will miss the start of the season and may not be ready to play by at least the middle of January.
Walker’s knee issues have plagued his career over the last season or two and if he can’t stay healthy, or is heavily limited all season, the Celtics’ chances of making noise in the East is gone.
As good as Marcus Smart is and as good as the Celtics’ two star forwards are, Walker missing puts some holes in this roster that won’t be filled without a big-time emergence from one of Boston’s young players, or a trade.
If the Celtics are just tempering Walker to make sure he gets to the postseason, this is all not that concerning for our NBA picks. We knew going into this season that Walker would at the very least not play back to backs and play limited minutes to start the year. This news could be the furthering of that caution. If Walker can come back in January and stay healthy and play 27 to 30 minutes per game, we might all forget about this by February. However, it’s just the first what if for this team unfortunately.
Net Loss In Free Agency
The Celtics had a lot of buzz surrounding the markets they were getting for Gordon Hayward and the potential players they were going after. When the dust settled and free agency had wound down, Boston came away with almost nothing in return for Hayward, who bolted for Charlotte and also weren’t able to secure a starting caliber center.
Daniel Theis is great and the addition of Tristan Thompson should help their rebounding, but defensively in the middle the Celtics will remain poor like last season. By not fixing that issue, it will be harder to hide their lack of offense without Walker on the court and their lack of depth.
Shaky Bench Unit For Now
The Celtics have been getting by with a shaky bench, but after losing Hayward to free agency and Walker to injury to start the year, the Celtics’ bench depth to begin the year is once again being called into question.
Jeff Teague now starts at point guard and Marcus Smart will enter as the shooting guard, giving the Celtics not a ton of proven backcourt options left to spell those two guys. Romeo Langford is still out of action to start the season, which means the Celtics have a collection of young players and rookies to fill the void at guard off the bench.
While Langford is out, Javonte Green will have to play huge minutes for this team, and rookies like Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith will almost surely have to get minutes before they are ready. Combined with their frontcourt issues and Walker’s injury, the Celtics look a lot worse for wear than they did a few weeks ago, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at the NBA odds this season.
Can the Celtics overcome all of this? Absolutely. The problem is they have almost no room for error. If Either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum go down for an extended period of time, this team is toast. Considering Walker’s injury, their poor showing in free agency and their limited depth to begin the year, I’m bearish on the Celtics.