Here’s How Many Games ESPN Projects Celtics Will Win In 2017-18 Season

1,425

On the heels of a busy offseason, the Boston Celtics face big expectations for the 2017-18 season. But not everyone believes the C’s are among the NBA’s elite.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton on Thursday shared his annual win projections for every team, and there’s both good and bad news for Green Teamers. While Pelton does project the Celtics to finish atop the Eastern Conference, he clearly doesn’t think they stack up in the absurdly loaded Western Conference.

Here are his projections for the top eight teams in each conference:

East
Boston Celtics — 49.4
Cleveland Cavaliers — 49.2
Washington Wizards — 47.5
Milwaukee Bucks — 46.9
Charlotte Hornets — 44.1
Toronto Raptors — 43.4
Miami Heat — 42.3
Detroit Pistons — 35.1

West
Golden State Warriors — 62.1
Houston Rockets — 55.0
San Antonio Spurs — 52.6
Minnesota Timberwolves — 50.1
Oklahoma City Thunder — 49.5
Los Angeles Clippers — 48.9
Denver Nuggets — 47.2
Utah Jazz — 44.7

As you can see, Pelton expects the Celtics, despite adding Gordon Hayward, to finish with roughly four fewer wins than last season, when they went 53-29. But before you flood his inbox with hate-mail, Celtics fans, stop and think for a second.

The Celtics, and the entire Eastern Conference, face an incredible challenge in the West. The Warriors are the Warriors, the Rockets added Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Paul George now are teammates and the Timberwolves are vastly improved. Saying Boston will go, say, .500 against the West isn’t so much an insult to the Celtics as it is a testament to the enormous collection of talent in the opposing conference. Even the teams that miss the playoffs out West likely would be playoff locks in the East.

Still, with a group of young players that should only improve, and a core that includes Hayward, Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics could subvert expectations and compete for NBA supremacy.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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