Is the Boston Celtics’ ambition for a spot in the 2021 NBA Finals realistic?
The answer depends on whom you ask.
NBA general managers collectively ranked the Celtics as the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference, according to results of NBA.com’s annual GM survey. Having garnered just 11 percent of total voting points, Boston enters the 2020-21 NBA season trailing favorites the Milwaukee Bucks (35 percent) and contenders the Brooklyn Nets (24 percent) and the Miami Heat (21 percent) in GMs’ estimation.
Boston received just four percent of the first-place votes and seven percent of the second-place votes. Twenty-five percent of third-place votes went to Boston as well as 30 percent of fourth-place votes.
The conclusion we draw from the NBA GM survey is executives expect Boston to qualify for the NBA playoffs comfortably and even progress to the second round. However, GMs also believe the Celtics reaching the Eastern Conference Finals is a slight stretch, and booking a spot in the NBA Finals would be a shock.
While NBA GMs believe Boston will enjoy a good year, they also reckon the Celtics have a bright future. GMs ranked the Celtics’ young core as the third “most promising,” tied with the Atlanta Hawks at 11 percent of the voting total. The New Orleans Pelicans (41 percent) and Memphis Grizzlies (22 percent) led that survey category.
The Celtics will try to make rival GMs eat their respective votes Dec. 23 when they face the Bucks in their regular season opener.