This week the CelticsBlog staff is going to weigh in together on various topics. Please feel free to expand on these topics and give your own opinions in the comments below.
Predicting win totals is always a Ben Simmons level shot in the dark. There’s recency bias, incomplete information, and flat out too many variables to make accurate predictions. But that’s not going to stop us from trying! Most betting lines set the Celtics over/under at 47.5 wins this season. So the simple question is “will they go over or under that line and why?”
Right now, I’ll bet the under, but just barely. I see the Celtics falling somewhere in the 46/47 win range. Their floor will always be high so long as Tatum and Brown are on the court, but the ceiling is going to depend on how much offseason bets like Dennis Schröder, Al Horford and Josh Richardson pay off, as well has how much growth they see from younger players like Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard and Romeo Langford. I’m bullish on what the Celtics could be this season, but until their theoretical ceiling starts to show through on the court, I’ll lean on the side of their floor. (edited)
I’ll take the over. Had the Celtics stayed healthy for like 1-2 more weeks than they did, they most likely would have finished around the 4/5 spot this season. It was still in place like two weeks before the season concluded before things fell apart. Taking that foundation, adding good health, and optimizing the roster around the pillars of the team and increasing the average defensive aptitude, the Celtics may not have as high a ceiling as last year, but the floor is higher. Predicting a relatively safe healthy year (which we deserve at this point), I think we push 50 wins.
I agree with Andrew on the over. I think people are selling this team short for reasons that don’t hold up under close scrutiny. I would take the over on 50.5, and if you catch me on a really optimistic day, I might even take the over on 54.5. Provided, of course the team finally gets some breaks on injuries and health (they’re about due). (edited)
I’ve been feeling 48 wins since the roster more or less settled. For that reason, I’ll take the over.
I think this will be a top-10 defense, and maybe even top-5. If the offense can stick around 10-12, that’s a team that should push 50 wins.
Give me the over. Not only because I’m a sucker for Brad Stevens. but because of what Keith just mentioned. The improvements on defense are leaving me optimistic for a high 40s, maybe 50 win season as well. Defense and shooting dominate the regular season, look at Utah last year. Boston now looks to have both with the improved defense and their two offensive centerpieces.
Forecasts are calling for low 50s and sunny in the 617.
Give me the over. The way over. I understand the logic that last year’s team was snake bit. The injuries on top of COVID on top of the compressed schedule on top of that damned double-big lineup certainly contributed to their .500 record. But if we’re being honest, the Celtics were also just super young and inexperienced last year. Stevens has not only added several vets, but Boston’s young core of Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams will have a proper offseason to focus and sharpen their games after two tumultuous years. The team will also be juiced with a new head coach at the helm. Try and talk me out of a 52+ win season.
I like the over, just barely, for exactly the reasons listed above. As we all learned in Celtics Math Class:
Improved defense + (hopefully) improved health + consistent rotations - (a bunch of back to backs and COVID protocols) = 49 wins.
I’m confidently betting the over. The additions of Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Dennis Schroder — along with a defensive-minded coach in Ime Udoka — ensure that Boston will be leaps and bounds improved defensively compared to last season. So long as the Celtics stave off the injury bug (which is a very big if), Boston will reach the 50-win mark; this team is deep and chock-full of upper-echelon defenders and capable perimeter shooters.
I’m taking the under here, for no reason other than the fact Horford and Williams are a clunkier fit in the frontcourt on both ends than many are comfortable discussing. If they play together, spacing clogs a bit. If they don’t, Boston is a tad thin on high-caliber wings. Close to that 47-win mark for sure, but I still have some questions about fit.
Without breaking down the schedule too extensively game-by-game, I’ve felt somewhat confident in the under when it comes to most Celtics win projections. That’s less about Boston, which I believe is a better team and has plenty of room to be one under this 47.5 mark, and more about an improved east. Teams like Indiana and Charlotte will be healthier and Chicago added talent. Brooklyn, Philly and Milwaukee all remain challenging, while the Hawks might’ve made “the leap” last season. Remember: the Celtics finished .500 last year. That leaves 6 wins of improvement under the total listed here. They could still have a successful season (~5 seed) while falling under 47.5, a lofty goal for a team that lost two starters and needs to find itself again. Health, better defense and improved passing all build a floor above .500 for the Celtics in my mind. Pushing 50 wins will take some exemplarily years from the likes of Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Dennis Schröder, along with the younger players on the roster. I won’t rule any of that out, but I’ll stick with a modest prediction of roughly 45 wins for this group and a 2021 Knicks-like season.
Indulge me as I play both sides for a moment. Given good health the Celtics seem a good bet to hit the over, but an injury to any of the team’s key players could yield disaster from a rotation standpoint, particularly if Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown misses time. I’d stay away from this wager if real money was at stake, but if I had to choose I’d lean under for the simple fact that Boston never seems to keep its full roster healthy for the majority of a year.
To the surprise of exactly no one, I’ll take the over. Last year was a tire fire and I don’t want to jinx anything, but let’s just say that I’m optimistic that it won’t be as bad this year. It starts with the defensive focus and personnel. If Ime can get the team moving the ball, that should make up for some of the lack of reliable shooters on the floor. Sprinkle in another year of Tatum and Brown improving and I very much like the over on this season.