The 2015 NBA season is quickly approaching, and that means it's time for us to preview the unpredictability that is the National Basketball Association. Yesterday, we previewed the Atlanta Hawks, so we will continue in alphabetical order with Boston's own: the Celtics.
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Evan Turner
PF: David Lee
C: Tyler Zeller
Key Bench Pieces:
Notable Offseason Acquisitions:
Amir Johnson: Free agent signing.
David Lee: Acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors.
Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and Jordan Mickey: Draft selections.
Note: The Celtics have several position battles that could play out in a multitude of ways, so the starting lineup and bench roles are not set in stone.
The Celtics had a very interesting 2014-15 season. For Boston, last year was essentially a tale of two different seasons. To begin the year, the Celtics were a team considered to be focused on developing young players and tanking for a high draft pick for the second straight year. That much was true, that is until the Celtics decided to trade their two most talented players in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo and ride it out with the young guys.
The Celtics then went out at the trade deadline and acquired Isaiah Thomas from the Phoenix Suns, and everything changed. With the help of brilliant head coach Brad Stevens, the young, energetic, and motivated Celtics fought their way into the playoffs as the seventh seed. The team was quickly eliminated in a 4-0 sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the second half surge has given us a big reason to be optimistic.
Based on their record, the Celtics were one of the best teams in the league in the second half of the year. The team missed a winning season by just two games, and that says a lot considering the hole the team put themselves in prior to trading all of their dead weight.
This season, Boston fans can expect a bit more stability. With the final remains of the glory days of the Big 3 all removed, the Celtics are officially full steam ahead into the future.
At the young age of 38, Brad Stevens is already considered one of the league's best head coaches. You saw what he did with a team last year that was continually adding and removing pieces, so imagine what he'll do now that the team has a solid foundation in place.
General manager Danny Ainge has done a great job of building a roster full of varying skill sets.
Isaiah Thomas is an elite scorer and the best sixth man in basketball. Marcus Smart is an up-and-comer who has already proven to be a competent NBA point guard. Avery Bradley is one of the best defensive players in basketball and has developed a nice offensive skill set over the past couple of years. David Lee is an extremely talented offensive big man. The list goes on.
One common theme with every member of the 2015-16 Boston Celtics is an aggressiveness found nowhere else in the league. Brad Stevens has gotten the entire team to buy into a specific brand of basketball, one that involves being unselfish and giving it everything you have every night. Stevens has had a full offseason to work with this roster, and I expect great things from them. The Celtics should easily make the playoffs for a second straight year, and could make some noise once they get there.
By Jacob Young, @Jacob_BBS