There has been no more consistent team than the Boston Celtics over the last six seasons. They have been to the conference finals four times, been one game away from the NBA Finals twice, and made it to the Finals once over that span. Still, their success has felt like a disappointment. With all the talent that has come through Boston, a championship is the expectation every year. With some fresh faces and coaching continuity, the Celtics are looking to scale the mountain finally.
Boston Celtics (Over/Under 55.5 Wins)
Key Adds - Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, Wenyen Gabriel, Oshae Brissett, Lamar Stevens
Key Losses - Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams, Grant Williams
After a heartbreaking game seven loss to the Miami Heat a year ago, the Celtics ended another year short of where they expected to be. They had one of the best rosters in the league, and to lose to a shorthanded Heat team was crushing. Celtics management thought they needed to make some change, so they did, in a big way. They traded away former defensive player of the year Marcus Smart and defensive rotation pieces Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams to bring in Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. These trades came out of nowhere and seemed like panic moves when they did not need to panic.
Porzingis had his first healthy season last year (65 games) since his sophomore campaign, but his history still suggests that is not sustainable. He gets hurt almost cyclicly and when he is playing, he does not necessarily play a winning style of basketball. There are too many post-ups required for Porzingis to get his touches, which is why the offensive fit next to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is not great. Jrue Holiday is a great fit for their system, but they already had a Holiday-like fit with Marcus Smart and decided to trade him away.
Boston exchanged depth for star power in their starting lineup and the decision is going to get tested every night in a deep Eastern Conference. The departure of Robert Williams leaves them with just Porzingis, Al Horford, and Luke Kornet to play center, which leaves no room for error in the middle. Instead of Grant Williams and Malcolm to back up the guards and wings, they now have Oshae Brissett and Payton Pritchard in an expanded role. Instead of blowing up their core, they should have just kept running it back with the same guys until they won a championship. The new-look Celtics are not a better version and it is shaping up to be another underwhelming year in Boston.