After an early first-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics hope to redeem themselves next season.
After posting a regular season record of 36-36, the Celtics ranked No. 13 in the NBA power rankings ESPN published after the 2021 NBA Finals. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps ranked the Celtics slightly below the top 10 due to the organization’s unpredictable future after undergoing major transformations during the offseason.
“After one of the most stable organizations in the league went through some massive changes — Brad Stevens replacing Danny Ainge atop the organization,” Bontemps wrote Wednesday. “Ime Udoka replacing Stevens on the sidelines and the Celtics’ trade swapping Kemba Walker and their first-round pick for Al Horford — Boston enters the offseason with two key questions to answer. The first is whether the Celtics will re-sign Evan Fournier, whom they acquired at the trade deadline and is an unrestricted free agent. The other is whether they can agree to a long-term contract extension with Marcus Smart — and if not, whether the team will attempt to trade him, rather than risk him leaving next summer for nothing.”
Bontemps highlighted the key changes made in the front office and also crucial trades that sent Kemba Walker and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in return for Al Horford. With a few new faces added to the roster, the Celtics could become championship contenders once again.
But being in the Eastern Conference is not easy. With the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets having the Nos. 1 and 2 spots on the list, respectively, the Celtics have a difficult challenge ahead of them.