With the Boston Celtics tipping off the 2021-22 season in hunt of Banner 18, it’s time to look at where the CelticsBlog staff thinks the team will finish the year!
Keith Smith: 48-34. 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Second-round playoff loss. This team has to have better health than a year ago, right? Right? If that comes to pass, Boston will be in a lot better shape. Jayson Tatum is poised to leap to superstar status and Jaylen Brown isn’t far behind. Ime Udoka seems to have the team motivated. And Brad Stevens built a deep roster with good functional depth. That should push the Celtics back near the top of a much-deeper Eastern Conference.
Andrew Doxy: 52-30. 3rd in the East. Eastern Conference Finals with maybe a push to the Finals depending on health. I feel good about this team, health permitting.
Adam Spinella: 43-39. 7th in the East. Inconsistent play from the bench and some youngsters prevent the C’s from establishing themselves in a much more top-heavy Eastern Conference.
Michael Pearce: 50-32. 4th in the east, so yay! Home playoff series! There will be bumps, but the Celtics are much deeper this year than last, and they still found a way last year to cobble together a .500 record. Bottom line is, some growth from Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard, combined with the strengthened bench will give Boston some semblance of a shot. Anything can happen in the playoffs, so while I don’t expect a run, I won’t rule it out.
Steve Hooper: 48-34. Good enough for 4th place in the East. Health has always been a factor for the Celtics in recent times and it has reared it’s ugly yet head again during this preseason. I think the team will be good enough to beat anyone in the league on any given night but they will likely struggle with health issues all season. Las Vegas has us at 46.5 wins and I think we are fraction better than that due to the Veteran bench upgrades and the development of our trio of Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. Grant Williams still needs to show more as the season rolls on but he is also trending upward.
Rich Jensen: 55-27. 2nd in the East. And I just hope nobody gets hurt. Seriously, though. The Celtics are wayyyyyy overdue for a healthy year. If they stay healthy, this team is going to be far better than the predictions. I like the mix of veterans and young guys on the bench, and I think the starting unit is potentially the best the C’s have had since the Big Three era, even if it is not, on paper, the most talented, because I think the quartet of Smart/Brown/Tatum/Horford are going to mesh exceptionally well.
flceltsfan: 58-24. 3rd in the East. I think Brooklyn and Milwaukee are ahead of them in the East standings, but the Celtics make it out of the East to compete in the Finals. The Celtics are due to have a healthy year and with improvement from each of our young players, the Celtics will be a deep team. And, most importantly, with the addition of Dennis Schroder, Al Horford, and Josh Richardson, the defense will be much improved over last season.
Jesse Cinquini: 51-31. 4th in the East. Jayson Tatum is in the running for the MVP award, and both he and Jaylen Brown make an All-NBA team. With a deeper and more defense-oriented supporting cast, the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lose a hard-fought series to the Bucks/Nets.
Will Bjarnar: 47-35. Good for 5th in the East, with all of it ending in a disappointing second-round exit at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. But to get there is momentous enough. After such a brutal go of things last season, one marred by health hindrances and inconsistency galore, I feel like this season serves as a re-wake-up call for the rest of the East, and perhaps for the Celtics themselves. Jayson Tatum has shown flashes of having a coming-out party, but this season will be the real deal; he’ll average 27+ points, garner an All-Star nod, and better yet, make an All-NBA team. Jaylen Brown returns and makes the splash he’s expected to make; he nabs an All-Star honor and leads the league in steals (sorry, TJ McConnell). And yet... the team remains one piece away from the proverbial promised land. Bonus: Brad Stevens takes up the Trader Danny mantle and... immediately acquires yet another TPE.
Simon Pollock: 48-34. 4th in the Eastern Conference, and a tough out in the second round of the playoffs. Put me on Team Cautiously Optimistic. I like the competitive vibe coming out of training camp and the preseason. I like the veteran depth to improve the team’s defense and the second unit’s ability to score. I like the versatility of an offense that can run through two talented passing bigs at the elbows. My hope for this year is that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Ime Udoka establish not just a new normal, but a new consistency.
Jeff Clark: 49-33. 4th in the East. As much as I was a fan of Brad Stevens, I do feel like this team needed a fresh start and a new voice. I think Ime has set the right tone early on and it should carry through to a solid season. Of course the team will go as far as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can carry them, but I’m thinking that can be pretty far. Don’t be shocked if they make another run to the Eastern Conference Finals (or flame out in the first round - everything is on the table).
Josh Motenko: 46-36. 6th in east after Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Miami, Atlanta and New York. However they will get to the Eastern Conference Finals and lose. Increased depth and toughness, along with better ball movement will overcome guards who struggle to shoot in the playoffs. But will Jayson Tatum show elite toughness after years of semi-soft play? The “Fords” are our x-factors (Romeo Langford and Al Horford). If they pop consistently, we are a whole different team. The Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference this year though, and the champion will come from the East.
Bill Sy: 51-31. Good for 4th in the East. This will be the leap year for every single drafted player. Jayson Tatum makes the jump to superstardom. Jaylen Brown is an All-Star again. Robert Williams delivers on his promise and garners All-Defense attention. Marcus Smart is named a co-captain and enters the Dennis Johnson phase of his career. Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith, and Payton Pritchard all play 15+ minutes a night and consistently contribute. And a mid-season trade sets them up for a push to the conference finals.
Bobby Manning: 46-36. 5th in the East. I’m higher on the team than I was before they added Dennis Schröder. Early ominous COVID and injury news reminds me how fragile this could all be. The shooting doesn’t look phenomenal, defense will take time and the load remains heavy on the Jays. That said, the defensive personnel gives this team a real sturdy floor. The veteran core looks solid and the young guys took strides over the offseason. If Jayson Tatum joins the MVP race and/or Robert Williams becomes a regular contributor this group could enter the home court echelon. I believe in Al Horford and think he’ll be legitimately awesome. It stinks he and Jaylen Brown got COVID after hot starts. For now, Atlanta and Miami appear better along with the two East juggernauts. I’m impressed by Ime Udoka. Once the team grasps his message, it could become a 2018-esque feel good group, or at least a 2016-style bridge to something better. The East is rising quickly alongside them, so this year’s still worth grasping and maximizing.
Adam Taylor: 48 - 34. 4th seed in the East. I think this team has some serious potential, but I also expect there to be some teething issues to begin the year. New faces on both the playing and coaching staff means the team will need time to gel and understand their new system. I am expecting the post All-Star jump from Jayson Tatum that we’ve seen these last two years, and think Jaylen Brown is going to be on another level again this season. The roster is far deeper which should help navigate the inevitable injuries that happen through the year, and if one of Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard or Aaron Nesmith take a jump, then I could see the team pushing for second or third in the conference.