Offseason Preview: Boston Celtics

Offseason Preview: Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

OVERVIEW

Boston Celtics2018-19 RECORD: 49-33, 4th in Eastern Conference

SUMMARY

  • Boston Celtics fans we promise...everything is going to be okay. After heading into last year as one of the most hyped titled contenders in the NBA, the Celtics experienced a nightmare season filled with drama and an inability to click as a team filled with star power. After losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Celtics find themselves with arguably one of the most interesting offseasons in Franchise history. Gordon Hayward started to slowly show signs of old throughout the second half of the season, and there's a lot of promise that another full offseason should have the former All-Star off and running in his 2nd year back from a terrible ankle injury. All of the Celtics offseason rests on what happens with Kyrie Irving and the Draft...but let's take a further look at this previous year and what to expect this summer. 

 

TOP PRODUCERS

Kyrie Irving: 23.8 PTS, 5.0 REB, 6.9 AST, 48.7 FG%, 40.1 3P%
  • Although "Uncle Drew" experienced one of the most dramatic seasons in recent history, Kyrie still produced at a high level for this Boston Celtics team. It will be fascinating to see if Kyrie really wants to return to the Boston Celtics...but the expectation is that he will be on the move. Kyrie was forced into a leadership role this year for this young Celtics team, and it just didn't seem to work out. A fresh start for everyone might be the best thing. A side note: Kyrie's health continues to be something to monitor, as he only played in 67 games this year for Boston. 

Kyrie Irving

Jayson Tatum: 15.7 PTS, 6.7 REB, 2.1 AST, 45.0 FG%, 37.3 3P%
  • Tatum came into this year with some pretty heavy expectations after looking like a potential superstar in his rookie year. It's always a dangerous path once rookies experience immediate success, and often times they find themselves falling for the sophomore slump. Tatum had a questionable shot selection at times this year and it will be fascinating to see what he does in year 3 with the Celtics. Expect him to have a huge bounce-back season.
Marcus Morris: 13.9 PTS, 6.1 REB, 1.5 AST, 44.7 FG%, 37.5 3P%
  • For a majority of the season, Marcus Morris was absolutely fantastic for this Celtics team. Even though Morris was coming off the bench to begin the season, Morris' play was so good that Brad Stevens had to find a way to move Morris into the starting lineup. Scheduled to hit Free Agency, Morris' outstanding play might have earned himself a big pay raise. 

 

OFFSEASON FOCUS

DRAFT PICKS

2019 NBA Draft

  • 1st Round: # 14, #20, #22
  • 2nd Round: # 41

 

NAMES TO CONSIDER IN 1ST ROUND 

  • # 14: It's always difficult to get a read on the Boston Celtics, as they have a history of keeping things pretty tight-lipped. This Celtics team could use some offense off of the bench and they could also look to add a shooter at some point in the draft. Look for Kentucky's Tyler Herro to be in the conversation here. If Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke happens to slide, he might be an intriguing piece playing alongside Al Horford. 

Tyler Herro

  • #20: This will be where Boston will look to get an intriguing bench piece with some developmental potential. A name to consider here? Virginia Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker. While Alexander-Walker isn't an elite athlete, he's a crafty combo guard that possesses a solid all-around game and is a fantastic distributor.  Don't be surprised if the Celtics also look for a "low-ceiling" player here such as Tennessee's Grant WilliamsAdmiral Schofield or potentially even North Carolina forward Cameron Johnson. If Kentucky's PJ Washington is on the board here, it would be a terrific fit as well. 

 

  • # 22: It will be a major upset if the Celtics end up selecting here at 22 on draft night. This team does not want to add 3 rookies to the roster and unless a trade happens (Hello Anthony Davis) expect this pick to be on the move. BUT if this pick does stay, it would be wise of the Celtics to look for a potential international prospect that they can stash and develop for a year. Luka Samanic of Union Olimpija would be a great value here, although he might not be staying in Europe for another year. Deividas Sirvydis of Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania) would be a very intriguing stash candidate here at 22. The smooth-shooting left has great size (6'8") for his playing style and could develop into a serious weapon down the road. 

FREE AGENCY 

  • All eyes are going to be on Kyrie Irving. But regardless of what happens, look for Danny Ainge to try and piece together a couple of intriguing lower tier veteran options. Aron Baynes decision to opt-in was a big win for this Celtics franchise. Marcus Morris will likely be on the move. If the Celtics keep their picks, this roster will be a dogfight to make. 

CAP SITUATION

  • Boston will most likely not have a lot of room to work with when it comes to the salary cap but they will have a couple of situations to monitor first. Al Horford has a Player Option decision coming soon in which he can opt-in for around $30 million for the upcoming season (Via Spotrac). Although most will say Kyrie is the most important contract to monitor (more on that in just a second), Horford's situation is a MASSIVE domino to fall. Jaylen Brown will also become extension-eligible this season. 

Al Horford Contract

KEEP AN EYE ON

  • If you haven't heard...Kyrie Irving is a Free Agent. 
  • Okay fine, Let's get serious for a second. Kyrie is going to be the huge storyline here as the Celtics will need to have some backup options if Kyrie is gone. Expect Danny Ainge and company to be well prepared for an alternate road. The Celtics could simply go a youth movement and continue to build around their young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown if Kyrie decides to leave, but don't think that Ainge and the Celtics Front Office won't have a couple of tricks up their sleeves. 
  • Anthony Davis rumors will continue to heat up. While it won't surprise me at all if Ainge decides to go All-In on trying to convince Anthony Davis to play for the Celtics for the future, I don't see Danny overpaying for that gamble. 
  • Gordon Hayward will be in his second year back from his terrible ankle injury and don't be surprised if he makes a huge leap back in his progress. Remember, Hayward experienced a setback late last summer, which threw a wrench in his progression. Hayward will have plenty of motivation. 
  • Terry Rozier will be an underrated big storyline for this Celtics team. After some blunt comments in the media after the end of the season, it will be interesting to see if Rozier is brought back for another run especially if Kyrie Irving exits. Rozier is scheduled to become an RFA. 
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