Return of The Underdogs

Boston Celtics
Alright, Boston Celtics fans let's take a moment to laugh in a joker-like way at the events that happened last year. 

*Let's out a horror-like laugh in a public setting that spreads terror to all parties surrounding*

Now, let us tell you why this year is going to be worth going through the previous torturous season. There's a number of reasons we can tell you that last years team didn't work. While most Celtics fans want us to simply point the finger at Kyrie Irving, he's not the only reason this team didn't experience a massive amount of success last year. BUT, there's also a number of reasons why this years Celtics team looks to be just what Brad Stevens ordered. 

THE UNDERDOG MENTALITY IS BACK

Marcus Smart

  • This storyline CANNOT be overlooked as it's becoming a theme with Brad Stevens coached Celtics teams as of late. The Celtics seem to overachieve when the team is being overlooked. Before last year, the Celtics were viewed as a longshot to make any noise heading into the playoffs with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving out with injuries. That "underdog" team was one win away from an NBA Finals birth. Fast forward to the following season and it seemed as if this young Celtics team bought into the hype and struggled with the mentality of sacrificing for the long-term success of the team. After an offseason of realization, you can bet that this Celtics team will have the right mindset heading into this year. Marcus Smart should also help set the tone for the season early...as is tradition.

THE BRAD STEVENS DRAFT

  • It was a very interesting draft by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics and it almost seems as if Brad Stevens "might" have had a large pitch on what he was looking for in the Celtics draft class. Now look, I completely understand and I do believe that usually, Head Coaches might not have a big say in what their respected team does in the Draft, but this class seems as if it had Brad Stevens fingerprints all over it. Going back to his College days, Stevens lead teams were high-effort/ high-character teams that had defensive bigs and intelligent players all over the floor. So what did the Celtics do in this draft? They drafted a versatile, high-character big man in Grant Williams, who should quickly become a fan favorite in Boston. The Celtics also used another first-round selection on the raw offensive weapon Romeo Langford who has the potential to develop into a great rotational asset in his rookie year. Boston also spent two other selections on the flamethrower scoring option Carsen Edwards, who opened eyes in Summer League with his play and looks to have all of the makings of an absolute steal in the 2nd round. Edwards is another high-character intelligent player that should provide a serious spark off of the bench for Boston. Don't overlook final 2nd round selection Tremont Waters as well, who showed more than enough flashes in Las Vegas this summer. Waters will most likely spend some serious time developing his craft in the G-League for the Maine Red Claws this year, but he's one to keep an eye on. 

ENJOY THE KEMBA WALKER SHOW

Kemba Walker

  • I'm not going to tell all of you that I'm a fortune teller, but before Free Agency began I kept having this weird feeling of "I feel like Danny Ainge is going to sneakily go get Kemba Walker to replace Kyrie." The fit makes all of the sense in the world and I think Kemba is going to have a MONSTER season in a Celtics uniform this year. Walker should prove to be everything that Kyrie wasn't last season for the Celtics. As it's been said throughout last year, some players just can't flip a switch and become a great leader for a young team. Kyrie tried to do that and it just didn't work. There have already been reports that Kemba has impressed Celtics players with his leadership throughout the offseason. Walker was stuck in quicksand in Charlotte, and I believe he will hit the ground running for Boston. Kemba had a career year last year for Charlotte and has averaged north of 20 points per game for the last 4 years as you can see below.

THE RETURN OF COMMISSIONER GORDON

  • This will be the second season since the horrific injury Gordon Hayward suffered and early reports have it that Hayward has been living in the Celtics gym this offseason. An important note to remember, now Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George told Hayward it took him two full years before he had full confidence in his body, after recovering from a similarly devastating injury. Hayward showed plenty of flashes to tease Celtics fan of his potential in this lineup, especially with an impressive playoff performance in round 1 against the Indiana Pacers. If you don't remember, Hayward experienced a setback last summer in which he needed to undergo a surgery to remove a plate from his ankle. That surgery made it difficult for Hayward to hit the ground running (no pun intended) at the beginning of last season. With a FULL offseason under his belt, Hayward should open some eyes with his play early in the season. 

RELOADED WITH A PURPOSE

  • Danny Ainge was faced with a massive offseason for this Boston Celtics team and he did a great job of acquiring pieces to revamp this Celtics team. You could argue that Kyrie Irving wasn't the biggest loss for Boston. The loss of big man Al Horford will be a massive hole to fill in moving forward, but the Celtics front office did a great job of acquiring a number of big men to potentially fill that void. Enes Kanter has the potential to be a great addition for this Celtics team, who have struggled over the years to find a high volume rebounder. French center Free Agent addition Vincent Poirier, previously of Saski Baskonia in Liga ACB of Spain, showed some serious intriguing flashes with his play in the FIBA World Cup for France and looks like another promising big man. The Celtics always do a great job of finding talent and getting the most out of those players.
PG
SG
SF
PF
C
Kemba Walker Jaylen Brown Jayson Tatum Gordon Hayward Enes Kanter
Carsen Edwards Marcus Smart Romeo Langford Daniel Theis Robert Williams III
Brad Wanamaker   Semi Ojeleye Grant Williams Vincent Poirier
Tremont Waters       Tacko Fall

OVERALL

  • After the Boston Celtics were defeated in the Second Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks, you could see the toll the previous year took on head coach Brad Stevens who was first to say that he didn't do a good job throughout the year. Now, Stevens looks to have exactly the roster that he should thrive with. This Celtics team is going to be full of young hungry players who are eager to get the bad taste of last year out of their mouths. Keep a SERIOUS eye on the play of young big man Robert Williams III who reportedly has been one of the most impressive Celtics throughout the offseason. The "Timelord" might come off of the bench to start the season, but it wouldn't surprise me if he forces his way into the starting lineup early in the year. If Williams can develop into a consistent defensive presence that dominates the boards, this Celtics team could surprise a lot of people. It seems fitting that this team finds themselves back as the "underdogs."

 

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