The Boston Celtics were two wins away from raising the franchise’s eighteenth NBA championship banner, before the Golden State Warriors defeated them in the finals in June. Stephen Curry claimed the Finals MVP to win his and his team’s fourth championship in the last eight years. Boston lost four games to two in a very frustrating fashion with star forward Jayson Tatum having the most turnovers in a single playoff out of any player in NBA history. The team also had plenty of stretches in those games where they were either missing open shots or turning the ball over seemingly on every possession. Before falling to Golden State, Boston swept Brooklyn in the first round and went seven games to take down Milwaukee and Miami.
It has been an exciting offseason for the Celtics. Most of the summer has involved trade rumors of acquiring Kevin Durant, but nothing ever was solidified and he is still currently in Brooklyn, with the trade instead landing former Indiana Pacer guard Malcolm Brogdon. The team also brought in 15-year veteran Danillo Gallinari to be a big-bench contributor. However, he recently tore his ACL in his left knee so he will not be playing this season. Brogdon will be playing though and figures to be in the sixth-man role, coming off the bench. The 29-year-old, 6-foot-5 guard is a former rookie of the year, despite being selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. Brogdon can be a good scorer for the team, with a career average of 15 per game and is coming off consecutive seasons of over 19 points per game. His only negative during his career has been his durability, only having one season with over 65 games played. If he can stay healthy, he will provide much-needed bench shooting and ball handling.
The Celtics have their entire main core back from last season. All-star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are still under the age of 26 and have not officially hit their collective primes yet so they should still continue to develop. Now that the duo has finals and deep playoff experience, they should be more prepared to try and get back and eventually win a ring. The only question is if the pair will stay in Boston long term. Brown has said publicly that he has not enjoyed being in trade rumors for most of his career, as well as not being appreciated enough by fans in Boston. On the court, the two have had growing pains over the years, but both work very well and have been consistently scoring over 20 points a game each for several seasons, as well as playing elite defense.
Defense on the Boston Celtics can not be mentioned without naming guard Marcus Smart. Smart is the longest-tenured Celtic, being drafted by the team in 2014, No. 6 overall. Smart is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. Nobody questions his intensity, leadership ability or defensive prowess, but what people do question is his shot selection on offense. While Marcus has proved he can hit big shots, he has proven time and time again that he is not afraid to shoot, even when it is hurting the team to do so. Smart is the heart and soul of the team, and they go as he goes.
Joining Smart on the NBA’s All Defensive Team is teammate Robert Williams. The center had a career year having his best season in every single statistic, including blocks where his 2.2 swats per game were No. 2 in the association. The thing that makes Williams such an asset to the team is his freakish wingspan of 7-foot-6 and impressive vertical of 40 inches. He is a force on both ends of the floor as a shot blocker and easy lob finisher. He has even earned the nickname of “The Timelord” realistically for arriving late to his first press conference with the team, but equally for seemingly being able to stop time for being in the air so long.
Other key contributors for the squad include big man Al Horford who had a bit of a renaissance year in 2022 in his fifteenth NBA season and second stint with Boston. Derrick White was a mid-season acquisition from San Antonio who made an immediate impact as a bench guard. The rotation rounds off with forward Grant Williams who provides shooting and defense and Payton Pritchard as a solid, young backup point guard.