Me waiting for next Wednesday:
The Boston Celtics will open up their 2016-2017 regular season schedule with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday October 26th. With the new season, come new expectations about what the Celtics will be able to accomplish on the parquet floor at the Garden.
After finishing in fifth place in the Eastern Conference last year, with a record of 48-34, the Celtics were outmatched in their first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, which left a lot of Celtics fans wondering what General Manager Danny Ainge had in store for the offseason. Ainge has been known to make a splash in the offseason, like in 2007 when he made trades for perennial all stars, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, which led to their record 17th NBA Championship. Once again, Ainge did not disappoint in the offseason with the somewhat surprising free agent signing of star big man, Al Horford. Horford, the four-time all star, who had spent his 9-year career with the Atlanta Hawks, signed a four-year contract worth $113 million with the Celtics and with that, has vaulted the Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Horford, now teamed up with breakout forward Jae Crowder and the elite defensive backcourt duo of Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, leads this Celtics team, which will be committed first and foremost to defense. As you look up and down, you see a roster that drips athleticism. Bradley is finally getting the recognition that he deserves as he was recently voted one of the leagues best perimeter defenders by a preseason poll. Smart has the tenacity, and relentlessness that carries him to being one of the better lock down defenders in the Eastern Conference, and Crowder made himself a household name in Boston last year with his defensive prowess.
Head Coach Brad Stevens, hailed as the “Golden Boy,” by many, will now be in his fourth season at the helm of the Celtics. With a seasoned roster, Stevens will now get to show his full potential as a coach. Watch out NBA. Stevens got votes last year for NBA Head Coach of the Year, and has now proven to be one of the best coaches in the NBA on a consistent basis.
Many Celtics fans were disappointed when the Celtics had a chance to have the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, but only came away with the third overall pick. With the top two players in that draft class pegged as team-changing talents, in the Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons and the L.A. Lakers, Brandon Ingram, the Celtics came away with Jaylen Brown, a high flying, fast-paced forward out of The University of California. Brown is a raw athlete with a lot of room for improvement in his game, but the Celtics are the perfect fit for him. Usually with the third overall pick, that player is expected to come in and immediately make a difference. With Brown, the Celtics can take their time and let him learn from some of the veterans on the team, while still letting him be the second or third man off the bench, which is a luxury that most teams with a top five draft pick don’t have. Plus, he does stuff like this:
Even with the signing of Horford, Isaiah Thomas is the most important player on this team. The mini sparkplug who averaged a career-high 22.2 points per game last year, seems to have found a permanent home in Boston. Thomas is one of the more exciting players to watch as he stands at just 5’ 9” tall but can finish in the lane just as well as anybody in the NBA. He made his first all star game last year, and proved to truly be the barometer for the Celtics ups and downs. I think the potential all star combination of Horford and Thomas will prove to be one of the best small/big man combos in the game. The pick and roll is one of the oldest plays in basketball, and we better get used to seeing a lot of it this season with the Horford/Thomas duo.
With everyone playing catch-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics still have a tough road ahead, but with the Toronto Raptors most likely regressing after a surprisngly good season last year, and the Chicago Bulls bringing in aging superstars like Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics might have a case to be the second best team in the Eastern Conference.
And with all of the being said, LETS GOOOO!!!!!
Record: 55-27 which will be good enough for second best record in the Eastern Conference.
Brad Stevens will win NBA Coach of the year after leading the Celtics to the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
Isaiah Thomas will get at least one vote for the Most Valuable Player in the NBA.