The Boston Celtics released their preseason schedule today. With the NBA opting to increase the number of weeks across which its standard eighty-two game season will take place, and reducing the length of its preseason, the Celtics will only play four times prior to the start of regular season action- two games a piece against the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The limited number of preseason games, which are notoriously uninspiring, may serve to up the level of drama simply by increasing the chances of teams’ better players being on the court. With less opportunity to play at game speed, the value of that time increases.
That may be a bit of wishful thinking, but even if the new scheduling format doesn’t produce a new level of intrigue, the Celtics’ matchup with the Sixers should. Fans got a taste of the man that Boston traded down to avoid in this year’s draft, Markelle Fultz, during Summer League, and it would appear they will get two more tasty preseason appetizers before seeing a regular season affair.
Fultz’s development will be tracked closely against the player the Celtics preferred to select, Jayson Tatum, for years to come. Boston’s two preseason games against Philadelphia will be the opening act, and the first time anyone will see either in as close to a real NBA context as they’ve played.
The Celtics games against the Hornets will inevitably be less interesting, but there is value to be drawn from them as well. Boston has a lot of new pieces, and some pretty big, open questions about how to structure their rotation. The preseason should give a glimpse at how head coach Brad Stevens might plan on starting the year. That’s plenty of reason to watch in it’s own right.