The Boston Celtics were one win away last season from reaching the NBA Finals. They lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland has knocked them out of the playoffs three times in the past four seasons. This was the second consecutive postseason they were eliminated by the Cavaliers in the conference finals.
Boston has not been to the NBA Finals since 2010. They have not won an NBA title since 2008.
It was amazing how the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Irving was sidelined from March to the rest of the season because of a knee injury. He also had to get surgery on it.
Hayward was injured in the first quarter in the first game of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road last season. He suffered a gruesome leg injury and because of it, Gordon Hayward missed the rest of the season. He signed a five-year deal last offseason.
The Boston Celtics were well coached by Brad Stevens and they also played good team ball and defended well. Stevens might be the best coach in the NBA and he didn't even win the Coach of the Year Award last season.
Young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown emerged into good players faster than expected. Those two players still have another level to reach and it could be really scary, if they get there. They will be deeper this season with Irving and Hayward returning from injury.
The Celtics have built this team through the draft and trades. They should be the favorites to win the east this season, but the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Milwaukee Bucks will also be a threat to them.
With all the injuries they had last season, I didn't think they were going to win a playoff series, but the Celtics didn't only prove me wrong, but they also proved others wrong.
Projected starting lineup: © Al Horford, (PF) Jaylen Brown, (SF) Jayson Tatum, (SG) Gordon Hayward, and (PG) Kyrie Irving.
Key players off the bench: © Aron Baynes, (F) Marcus Morris, (F) Semi Ojeleye, (G) Terry Rozier, (G) Marcus Smart, and © Robert Williams.
The Boston Celtics will begin training camp on Wednesday September 26. They will begin the season at home on Tuesday October 16 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics are one of the favorites to win it all this season. Boston and the Houston Rockets may be the only two teams that could beat the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, but it may not even matter.