With the Boston Celtics set to begin their 2015-16 regular season Wednesday night, there’s one thing we know for sure: The team will play 82 games over the next five-plus months, and it will win some while losing others.
As far as predictions go, that’s about as tame as it gets. Picking the obvious outcomes can get boring, though, so we decided to break the mold and offer some hot takes regarding the upcoming Celtics season.
Will all of these predictions come true? We doubt it. Will they make us look silly by the end of the season? Probably. But we’re offering them up anyway.
Here are four bold predictions for the 2015-16 Celtics season:
1. R.J. Hunter averages 25 minutes per game
The rookie sharpshooter, who looked comfortable on the court in the preseason, continues to impress head coach Brad Stevens out of the gate in 2015. Hunter hits his stride by the All-Star break, shooting well from 3-point range and proving serviceable on the defensive end. That earns the 22-year-old consistent minutes in the Celtics’ rotation, as he averages double figures during a pleasantly surprising rookie campaign.
2. Multiple Celtics make the All-Star team
After failing to send a single player to last season’s All-Star Game, the Celtics send two to Toronto in 2016. Isaiah Thomas picks up where he left off last season and averages 20 points per game over the first half to earn his first career All-Star appearance. He’s not alone, as Marcus Smart makes major strides on offense to blossom into a legitimate two-way player who sneaks in as an All-Star reserve.
3. Avery Bradley, not Isaiah Thomas, is the team’s leading scorer
This one obviously isn’t mutually exclusive with our second bold prediction. Thomas gets off to a hot start but can’t sustain his scoring output throughout the whole season. With defenses keying in on the 5-foot-9 point guard, Bradley makes good on his preseason promise and knocks down 3-pointers at a career-high rate to pace the Celtics in scoring.
4. The Celtics reach the Eastern Conference semifinals
All of Boston’s moving parts fall into place. Stevens’ group picks up where it left off last season, riding the strong play of its guards and contributions from newcomers Amir Johnson and David Lee to the No. 6 seed in the East. Without the daunting task of facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics surprise the No. 2-seed Atlanta Hawks before giving way to a healthy Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in the next round.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images