Why NBA Writer Believes No. 3 Seed Is ‘Ambitious’ Projection For Celtics


August 21, 2019

It’s tough to gauge how the Boston Celtics will fare in the 2019-20 NBA season.

Following one of the most frustrating seasons in franchise history, the C’s experienced quite a bit of roster changeover, highlighted by the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. The summer wasn’t comprised entirely of departures for Boston, however, as the team managed to fill its void at point guard in the form of Kemba Walker.

It seems as though the basketball world is looking at the C’s in one of two ways. Some believe they’ll be better off — especially from a chemistry standpoint — with this current group, while others think Boston simply lost too much star power in the offseason. A recent summer forecast by ESPN projected the Celtics to land the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, but FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring think that prediction is too lofty.

“It seems ambitious to expect Boston (48 wins, No. 3) to win at basically the same rate as last year,” Herring writes. “We can certainly debate the switch from Kyrie to Kemba Walker (especially if there was a growing rift between Irving and his teammates last season), but losing Horford’s perimeter shooting and defensive versatility, even at his age, will be challenging. The latter is something Enes Kanter will be tested on repeatedly come April. Aside from the new players, though, it’s also fair to wonder whether one of last season’s issues — the glut of talented wings who all need shots playing alongside a high-usage point guard — will be any less a problem this season.”

The frontcourt likely will be Boston’s most pressing issue. Kanter is a below-average interior defender, which won’t bode well for the C’s when they’re going up against the likes of Horford, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. As far as the logjam of wings is concerned, Bostons’ best hope might be learning from its mistakes from last season and having everyone buy into their role.

It won’t be terribly long until the Celtics are back to work, as they’re set to open training camp Sep. 26.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images
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