Ladies and gentleman it’s that time again. The greatest time of the year. The start of the NBA season. Listen, I love all sports, but basketball has and always will be my #1. I play it (averagely) and I watch it religiously. Can’t get enough. If course my team in the NBA is the greatest franchise basketball has every had, the 17x Champion Boston Celtics.
This season should be special for this Celtics squad. Everyone is finally healthy and they have talent EVERYWHERE. So whaddaya say, let’s take a look at this years team.
First things first, I have to address Gordon Hayward. Like every other Celtics fan I watched opening night against the Cavaliers full of hope and optimism, only to have it dashed moments into the season.
That fucking sucked to watch. Absolutely brutal looking injury to a player that has done all the right things his entire career. But he worked tremendously hard and got healthy and is ready to ball the fuck out. Love it. Can’t wait to see him on the court in Celtics green.
Of course coming back from a lower leg injury like that is no easy task. So what should the expectations be for Hayward this season? This is a guy who has increased his PPG every season he’s been in the league. He’s a decent play-maker and defender.
Frankly I’m expecting big things from Hayward. Starting off I think there might be a little rust, a little trepidation. That’s where Kyrie/Tatum come in to carry the load for the first month or so. Once Hayward gets back in the swing I’m expecting the typical 20+ PPG scoring. His assist numbers should take a decent jump too, now that he’s got a TON of offensive fire power with him. With Brad running a pretty position-less brand of basketball he should be running the offense even Kyrie isn’t. I’m thinking a stat-line of 20.5ppg 5reb 5ast is absolutely doable.
Speaking of Kyrie, my outlook for him is extremely high. He has clearly bought into the Celtics way and with a fully healthy squad I think he may benefit the most. When he is on the floor you run the offense through him, he’s got some of the greatest handles I’ve ever seen and his shooting ability is damned good. He is the #1 option. A career 22ppg scorer, with his last two seasons hitting 24+. He. Is. DYNAMIC. With all the other threats on this Celtics team it should be a bit easier for Uncle Drew to get his points. I’d also like to see his assist numbers go up a bit. He’s a career 5.5 assist a game guy, but let’s touch 6 this season. Spread the ball around.
Two guys I’m most excited about seeing are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The young-bloods. I am fully bought into Jayson Tatum. He is a superstar in the making. It was plain to see during the playoffs last season, and with a full off-season under his belt I expect to see big things from him. He models his game after Kobe Bryant, and learned from the master this summer….BUT HE’S 6’8″ and growing. He can play a big 2, the 3, or the 4. He can shoot the three. He can dribble and drive. He can do it all. This might be a bit of my Celtics homer-ism coming through, but in a few years I could easily see him being a Kevin Durant type of player. Yeah, that fucking good. This season I’m just looking for growth. Realistically I could see a 18ppg 6reb 2.5ast line from Tatum, with flashes of him just absolutely taking over games. Taco Jay is here ladies and gents. Get ready.
Jaylen Brown doesn’t excite me quite as much as Tatum, but he is no slouch. He explosiveness and attitude are going to be huge in him developing as a player. He’s a lockdown defender and can shoot the 3 at a decent clip. His finishing ability at the rim is NASTY. He really needs to work on his handles and he could be a Jimmy Butler type of player. I don’t think he makes incredible leaps in PPG this season, if only because there are so many guys that can score. That said, I still expect him to grow on last season and get at least 15-18ppg. I just want to see some good explosive Jaylen Brown dunks.
Al Horford. The wily veteran. The oldest player on the team and the glue that keeps them together. He was nails in the playoffs last year and a do-everything player. There is nothing that Al Horford does poorly. His stats aren’t the flashiest, he sacrifices for everyone else. That does not mean you count Horford out. If you watched him shit all over Joel Embiid last season then you know that what Horford brings is more than stats. He is the facilitator of the offense, often running the game from the post. I’m expecting more of the same from Horford and with the team at full strength the old man shouldn’t have to work as hard.
The bench for this team remains basically unchanged from last season, which is not a bad thing. Marcus Smart is still the sixth man (barring him punching things/people during the season…chill the fuck out Marcus, you bulldog). He brings the hustle and defense that the second unit needs and can hang with the starters. I love his energy and attitude, hes the consummate Celtic.
Aron Baynes is a starter during some games for this team. This dude has all of Australia on him. He is a big body bruiser who takes no shit and knows his role. Need to see some Aron Baynes corner threes. Dude is WET.
Terry Rozier had his coming out party last season and showed that he is a scoring point guard that can run a second unit. Only problem with Rozier is that he may not be here for the full season. I wouldn’t put it past Trader Danny to ship him off if he looks as good as he did last year considering his contract.
Daniel Theis is back. Theis is nice. Expect him to keep doing what he did last season in being a surprisingly good big man
Marcus Morris is someone who I just find myself not giving a shit about. Yeah he can get hot and score. Yeah he does some funny shit and has a killer attitude, but too many times last season he just looked flat. No legs underneath his shots. Prove me wrong Marcus, but I expect very little from you.
Semi Ojeleye is jacked as fuck. Keep being jacked as fuck.
The rookie to watch on this team this season is Robert “Sleepy” Williams. All the talent in the world but fell to the Celtics in the first round because of injury/effort concerns. He’s gotta keep his head on straight, he already slept through a practice earlier in the summer. Not a great look for a rook, but he’s been fine since then. He is a big bodied defensive player who isn’t afraid to throw it down in someones face. He has a nose for the ball down low and he isn’t afraid to block the shit outta everybody. He’s looked decent so far in the preseason.
The rest of the bench really doesn’t matter as they won’t be playing much….
So, with all this talent what happens?
LeBron James has left the East. This bitch is WIDE OPEN and the Celtics are primed to be the #1 team. The Sixers, Raptors, and even Pacers could give them a run but I just don’t see it. Unless Ben Simmons/Markelle Fultz learns how to shoot a basketball I don’t think the Sixers have quite enough to overtake the Celtics. Side note: I think the Sixers are a fraud team. Most won’t agree with me but Ben Simmons is not as good as people make him out to be. Honestly Embiid is the only one on that team I’d take. The Raptors got Kawhi and that’s nice, he’s an all-world talent but the Raptors are choke artists and I don’t see them as a viable threat. Victor Oladipo has become a real star for the Pacers…but that’s all they have so PASS.
The East is the Celtics to lose. Let’s say they make the NBA Finals. What then?
Well, that’s tougher to answer. The Golden State Warriors are still the team to beat, even tougher if Boogie Cousins can give them 60% of what he was before the injury. They are a tough team to beat in a seven game series. Talent out the wazoo and the championship pedigree that can’t be denied. I think they will be the team to come out of the West barring catastrophic injury.
So can the Celtics hang, or even BEAT the Warriors?
THEY SURE CAN. CELTICS IN 7 BABY LET’S GO. BANNER 18 BOOGIE.