After the first half of the regular season, the Boston Celtics are in fourth place of the Atlantic Division with a 14-27 record. Despite being 3.5 games back from the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, they are also only 3.5 games removed from the second worst record in the entire NBA.
To report on the State of the Celtics, I asked our team of writers a series of six questions. To begin, I asked:
How many wins will the Celtics finish with? Will they make the playoffs?
Kevin O'Connor: 23-59, no playoffs
This total might seem ridiculously low considering the Celtics already have 14 wins and Rajon Rondo just returned, but I'm sticking with what I said they would get before this season. The rest of January will be rough, and other than a winnable stretch of games in February and April, the rest of the season will be an enormous test for the C's. There is also the chance of another trade by Danny Ainge, which would significantly hinder the chances of the Celtics' ability to win games after the trade deadline.
Alex Skillin: 29-53, no playoffs
I think the Celtics will finish with 29 wins. With Rondo back and the tougher stretches of their schedule behind them, the Celtics have a good chance to pick up some wins in the season's second half. However, Danny Ainge is likely to swing another trade (or two) before the deadline, which should keep the team from going on any extended winning streaks. I expect the second half of the season to be a lot like the first -- bumpy and inconsistent at times, but possessing some positives at the same time. I do think any possibility for a playoff run is unlikely at this point.
Tim MacLean: 30-52, no playoffs
I think the Celtics will finish with about 30 wins this year. Part of me wants to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they'll win closer to 35 games now that Rondo is back. But another part of me is trying to be as realistic as possible. If the Celtics were to get to 35 wins they would have to play .500 ball for the rest of the season. However, with Rondo just getting his feet wet, I don't think it's fair to expect that kind of success from this current squad.
Jeff Clark: 30-52, no playoffs
I said 30 at the start of the season and I'm sticking to that. They could beat that number by playing .500 ball for the rest of the year (which wouldn't surprise me) but I don't see them making the playoffs, even in the weak Eastern Conference.
Master Po: ???, no playoffs
I asked this exact same question to Mr. Bill Russell in a phone interview in the preseason of the year that KG and Ray Allen joined the Celtics. His answer? "I don't make predictions, I just watch the games." It's a pretty good answer by a true legend, so I'll stick with that answer as well. I will add, the more trades that are made during the season, the more chemistry is destroyed, and the more a sense of insecurity is created. Those two things are not conducive to wins or the playoffs. The objective of Danny is to NOT make the playoffs so I would suspect we won't.
Jay Asser: 30-52, no playoffs
I predicted a 34-48 record at the beginning of the season and wish I could stick to it but that would mean Boston going 20-21 the rest of the way. I'm going to renege and say the Celtics finish the regular season at 30-52 and miss the playoffs.
My bet would be on the Celtics making the playoffs on a quick surge of wins. Even in Rondo's first game back you saw people move the ball at a higher speed than usual, and I think this will be key. When Rondo wasn't pounding the ball into the hardwood - my only knock on him - you saw a bunch of crisp passes going into and out of the post, with Kelly Olynyk being one of the catalysts."