Anyone can make predictions and then conveniently forget about them the minute the season begins. We here at CelticsBlog are brave enough to hold ourselves accountable for the analysis that we do here. Or maybe we just like to laugh at ourselves and poke fun at each other. Either way, here’s a look back at our preseason predictions with commentary now that we know the regular season results.
I feel pretty good about my prognostication abilities! I missed the Celtics record by one game and they finished second in the Eastern Conference. I was also wrong about the rebounding, as Boston finished as the best defensive rebounding team in the game.
On the correct side, the big rotation has been in flux most of the year. Joe Mazzulla’s inexperience did show up at times. And they did run the main guys a lot of minutes in the regular season.
Mostly, I feel good about everything else. Boston’s depth is awesome. The stars are closer to superstars then regular stars. And they’re going to win Banner 18.
I nailed the record. I thought 57-25 would be good for first in the conference, but that was the one minor detail I did get wrong. The Bucks were up by 1.0 game in the standings with one more win, so the Celtics will have to settle for homecourt advantage in every series except the ECF. I am exceedingly optimistic that that won’t matter. My prediction of winning the championship stands (though it is a little iffy if the Clippers will be on the other side). You all should listen to me because I got the record right. Prepare a bottle of your finest champagne.
I feel good about my 54-28 prediction. No regrets there. I thought anywhere between 50-60 was possible and went with somewhere in the middle. I also correctly called that the Celtics would get the No. 2 seed. I figured the Bucks would probably be a bit more consistent in the regular season, but I still like the Celtics’ chances if (when) they meet in the playoffs.
With everything the Celtics had stacked against them to start the season, I opted to be conservative and predict a 48-50 win season. Suffice to say, I was happily wrong here, and the Celtics ended up closer to 60.
Losing control of the first seed was certainly unfortunate, but this team, minus some upgrades, made it to the NBA Finals last season from the same starting position. So, I’m choosing to keep the faith with them doing it again this year. It won’t be easy, but we’ve seen the Celtics overcome adversity multiple times this year.
The East runs through Boston, bring on the Bucks!
I was a little bit overzealous with my regular season win prediction. I thought they were going to crack 60 wins and get the #1 seed, but I think with the rookie coach and the Jaylen Brown injuries, they missed out by a few games. I was definitely right about the rest of the East though. I wasn’t sold on Miami or Atlanta as impact teams this season and while Philly has been good, they still don’t quite feel like they are on the same level as BOS or MIL. Playoffs will be the ultimate decider, of course.
What I got (slightly) wrong was the number of wins. Last summer the Cs were a guaranteed 60-win squad, until they were blindsided by bad things happening in threes: the Udoka fiasco, Gallinari injury and Rob Williams surgery. So I played it safe, predicting 55 wins and no worse than second seed in the East. Despite the rough patch after the All-Star break, Boston finished strong (winning 12 of their last 16) to reach 57 Ws.
What I got right was that the preseason turmoil did not deter the Celtics from being at least the number two seed. Yes, they missed the top record by one game after no-showing at Houston and Washington, but really it was more because the Bucks had a 16-game win streak down the stretch. In any event, now comes the important part, which I forecast would end with a parade. And since the Cs were an NBA-best 33-15 vs. teams .500 and above, there’s no reason to change that prediction.
Estimating 51-52 wins proved to be rather conservative. I thought that the Ime Udoka turmoil, injury concerns around the roster and the high likelihood of players like Al Horford receiving frequent rest would lead to a slightly slower regular season for the Celtics. Injuries and rest days have certainly been a factor, but by and large, this was a much more fruitful regular season than I anticipated (even if it didn’t always look as dominant as their second half form last season).
What I got right, however, was the assertion that this is one of the two or three most talented teams in the NBA. Everything we’ve seen from this team and from others around the league suggests that is absolutely correct, and finishing with the second-best record in basketball confirms as much. The last – and most crucial – part of the prediction remains to be seen: will the Celtics return to yet another Eastern Conference Finals with a very good Philadelphia 76ers team likely looming in the second round?
In my schedule prediction back in mid-August, I had the Celtics pegged at 59 wins and potentially reaching the stars at 60. That was before Joe Mazzulla replaced Ime Udoka, Rob Williams had a subsequent surgery right before training camp, and Danilo Gallinari was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in international play. Considering how the season started before it actually started, 57 wins ain’t bad.
Despite that inauspicious summer, there are so many things that I couldn’t have predicted. I knew Malcolm Brogdon was good, but not 6th Man of the Year good. I would have never expected the boost in three-point shooting and defensive impact from Derrick White. And would have thought that Sam Hauser, Blake Griffin, and Luke Kornet would have such a positive affect so deep in the rotation?
I picked them for 2nd in the East so I got that right. I hedged on who would be ahead of them but I knew it would be the Bucks or Sixers. 53 wins was a bit low, but in about the right range. The biggest thing I got wrong was “It may take some time to gel under Mazzulla.” It did not take some time to gel under Mazzulla. They just decided to coast for a month or two later in the year. But hey, at least they finished pretty strong and head into the playoffs on an upswing. Now on to fulfilling my biggest prediction. Another banner.