Boston Celtics: 2016 Preview, Offseason/Draft Recap, Outlook
Boston Celtics 2016 Preview
October 5, 2016
NBA Championship: 25/1 Over/under win total: 52.5 See the Latest Odds
The Boston Celtics were definitely the sleeper team of the 2015-16 NBA season as they made the playoffs for the 8th time in 9 years when no one really gave them a chance at the start of the season. Now this is a team that is ready to make a big move in the Eastern Conference this season.
Here is your 2016 Boston Celtics preview.
USA TODAY Sports
Key Losses: Two of the more underrated pieces of the Celtics remarkable season in 2015-16 departed in Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger. Turner, the former 2nd overall pick, signed a four-year, $70 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, giving Portland a solid sixth-man option who can bolster their rotation if he can stay healthy, which has been an issue at-times for Turner. Sullinger on the other hand, signed a one-year, $6 million deal to stay in the division, signing with the Toronto Raptors.
Key Additions: The big signing for the Celts came in the way of big man Al Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal to join Boston. Horford has averaged nearly a double-double in his career, bringing 14 points per game and 9 rebounds from Atlanta to the Atlantic division. Horford’s size in the middle is sure to help out incumbent starting center Kelly Olynyk and the move further stretches the depth between rotation guys like Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson.
Breaking down the draft: The Celtics now hold the modern-day record for amount of picks in a single draft with 8, the most by any team since the draft was modified to the two-round format. Most notably was Boston’s 3rd overall pick, not from finishing with the 3rd-worst record in the league, but as part of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets in 2012. That pick turned into California small forward Jaylen Brown. Brown was said by many scouts to be one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the entire draft, due to his ability to pass almost every size and athleticism requirement for a professional player. The question marks lie in his jump shot and in-game IQ but those are things that head coach Brad Stevens will surely be working on with Brown to get ready for the season opener.
Outlook: The Celtics will be a team to watch as they just looked like they could hang with the majority of the NBA’s elite last year. The youth on the team combined with the experience of guys such as Al Horford could prove to be the key if the Celts want to emerge as a dark horse in the Atlantic division this season. Will that happen? Who knows. I personally think they are a couple years away from contending for the division, but a playoff spot is definitely in the realm of possibility.
Projected Record: 46-36