Last season the Celtics were a big disappointment. Coming into last season, the Celtics were one of the favorites to reach the finals and potentially win it all, but then everything fell apart. The Celtics finished as the seventh seed and lost in the first round in five games to the Brooklyn Nets.
The longtime Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge decided to retire and the Celtics promoted coach Brad Stevens to the position, leaving the head coaching position open. The Celtics filled the vacancy by hiring Ime Udoka from the Brooklyn Nets as their new head coach.
Udoka is the first African NBA head coach. He was a top assistant coach under one of the best coaches in the game, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich. Udoka might not have any head coaching experience but he’s a well respected coach nonetheless and seems like a very good fit for the Celtics.
The Celtics were very active this offseason in the free agent and trade markets as well. They brought back fan favorite Al Horford after letting him leave in free agency in 2019. They also signed veteran big man Enes Kanter, as well as guards Dennis Schroeder and Josh Richardson.
They were able to bring in Schroeder on a very favorable contract after he rejected the Los Angeles Lakers contract that would’ve been up to $84-million, and instead signed with Boston for a one-year $5-million contract.
In trading for Horford, the Celtics gave up Kemba Walker, a player once touted as the key to the Celtics winning a title, who underwhelmed in Boston. Along with losing Walker, the Celtics also lost veterans Evan Fournier and Tristan Thompson. The Celtics also traded Moses Brown to the Mavericks in order to bring in Josh Richardson.
Coming into this season, the players returning for the Celtics have looked really good, especially Jayson Tatum. Tatum is coming off his best season with the Celtics, averaging 26.4 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and averaging 39 percent from the three point line. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks a game. Expect Tatum to have a big year.
In Walker’s absence, Jaylen Brown should step up to be Tatum’s right hand man nicely. Last year, Brown averaged 24.7 points, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. With the addition of Dennis Schroeder this year, Brown will switch from shooting guard to small forward, which should be a smooth transition for him.
Big things should also be expected of both Dennis Schroeder and Marcus Smart. Both players are very good defensively but also help out offensively as well. Smart averaged 13 points a game on 40 percent shooting, and he averaged 6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game last year.
Last year with the Los Angeles Lakers, Schroeder averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.2 blocks per game. With the Celtics this year, his numbers should remain about the same with how he is used.
With Al Horford returning to Boston, we want him to play a big role on this squad like he did before. While he might be 35 years old, he should still produce as the Celtics’ center this season. Last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Horford averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 in blocks and steals.
The bench for the Celtics is very unproven but has a lot of potential this season. Josh Richardson and Robert Williams should be big players coming off the bench, but we’ll see how players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard do this season with more minutes. Enes Kanter was also brought in for veteran leadership off the bench which should help the Celtics.
After coming off a disappointing season, the Celtics made a lot of big moves on their roster and in the front office. Time will tell if what Boston did will lead to a championship or just another disappointing year.