Yup, it is that time of year again folks. Time for me to make my SWAGs for the year. My Silly Wild Astute Guesses. I know, that's terrible, but it is the best PG13 one I could come up with.
These SWAGs are completely different from all the other "bold predictions" articles you can read at this time of year because, ...well, they are pretty much the exact same thing, except they are written by me. So no points for originality aside from the fact that my mother thinks I'm special.
So without further ado-ing, let me dust off the crystal ball, spray some Windex on it, wipe it down, and gaze deeply into it. It doesn't actually tell the future, I just enjoy looking through it. Makes everything look all fish-eye style. Now I have a headache and you are wondering about my sanity. Hey, you try to write about a team virtually every day for 10 years and see how you turn out.
But I've diverged and digressed enough, so lets discuss and digest before I leave you distressed and disgusted.
SWAG 1: Danny Ainge will make at least 3 in-season trades before the deadline, and NONE of them will involve Rajon Rondo.
The most likely candidates to get traded include Brandon Bass, Marcus Thornton, and Jeff Green. But don't rule out Evan Turner, Gerald Wallace, and Vitor Faverani either. In fact, while we're at it, don't rule out anyone on the team except the guy that will be brought up non-stop in the media from now until February. And I'm only ruling him out because these are my rules and I make them up as I go along.
As of this moment, there doesn't seem to be any franchise-altering deals out there where we can pick up an All Star level player to play alongside Rondo. Things change quickly in this league. Ask the Indiana Pacers how quickly things can change. One of the big reasons why we watch this silly game of basketball is that it is impossible to predict. What we do know is that Danny Ainge has positioned this team to pounce if the right opportunity arises. (Looking at you Atlanta, Memphis, and half the teams out West)
And if all else fails, there's always deck chairs that need to be moved around as the fiddlers play us off like keyboard cat. We've got expiring contracts that can be traded for other expiring contracts. We've got Evan Turner on the Jordan Crawford reclamation project plan. We've got Jeff Green, who would be an ideal 3rd or 4th option on some competitor's team (unless he's that guy for us a year from now). Speaking of Jeff...
SWAG 2: Jeff Green will finally be consistent.
You know, a watched pot never boils right? So I think collectively most of Celtic nation has given up on Jeff Green being a steady, consistent, reliable scoring option. So of course this will be the year that he puts it all together.
I'm not saying he'll put up Carmelo Anthony scoring averages or anything, but I also think hovering around 20 points per night with way fewer single-digit scoring nights is highly doable. He's probably the best scoring option on the team but this year he'll have more help from Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner (so defenses can't simply key in on Jeff all the time) and he'll have one of the best setup men in the league getting him open looks. Also, he's got a better feel for the Brad Stevens offense and he's even starting to sound like he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 6 times, shame on you for not being a TRUE fan! Believe in Jeff Green! (Or don't, because watched-pot and all that)
SWAG 3: James Young will enter the NBA Dunk Contest - and finish 3rd
That's pretty nice. But for some reason, I think Zach Lavine is taking the crown this year.
SWAG 4: The Celtics will lead the league in forced 8 second violations.
Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley haven't seen nearly enough floor time together over the years. (Knock on wood) That should change this year. Rondo sometimes gambles too much, but when he's properly locked in he's a plus defender. I think putting him next to a pitbull like Bradley is only going to spur him to better defense. Normally, opposing guards would get a little bit of a break when the backup comes in. Instead, they'll be getting Marcus Smart. Good luck with that.
The Celtics may lack an interior defender, but they've got the perimeter covered pretty well.
SWAG 5: Jared Sullinger will take 400 three pointers this year.
For perspective, that would place him 7th all time on the Celtics for 3's attempted. He hit 15 out of 30 in 8 preseason games which comes out to 3.75 attempts per game. He'll have to up that average to 4.8 to top out at 400 in an 82 game season, but I think he's capable since he could be playing more minutes in the regular season than he did in preseason. Sure, people will compare him to Antoine Walker and accuse the Celtics of tanking, but he'll get better and better with his shot and it will pay off down the line.
He'll still have his fair share of looks around the basket and he'll still grab his defensive rebounds. But Brad Stevens has fully embraced and encouraged the 3 point culture. Something in his stats must be telling him to let the guys launch away. Maybe Jim O'Brien was just ahead of his time, ...kind of.
Bonus SWAG: The Celtics will make the playoffs.
If they end up making the playoffs, this prediction was totally serious. If not, then I was just kidding.
Hey, in the East, anything can happen. Enjoy the year.