Previews

NBA season preview: Boston Celtics

<> during overtime of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 24, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Hawks 104-95. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

STAYING: Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, John Holland, RJ Hunter, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey, Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young and Tyler Zeller.

ADDED: Ben Bentil (Providence), Jaylen Brown (California), Marcus Georges-Hunt (Georgia Tech), Gerald Green (Miami), Al Horford (Atlanta) and Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame).

GONE: Jared Sullinger (Toronto) and Evan Turner (Portland).

STRENGTHS: Depth and cohesiveness … The roster is loaded with productive players who mesh well together … The super skilled Isaiah Thomas developed into an All-Star his second year in Boston … His shot-making abilities are just mind-boggling … The addition of Al Horford gives Boston an upgrade of talent while not messing with the great chemistry they displayed last season … His rebounding, defense and mid-range shooting will be great assets for Boston … The Celtics play with great effort under one of of the brightest minds in the business in Brad Stevens … Many of the young guys proved early on they belonged … Expect more growth this year … Perimeter defense will remain phenomenal with bad boys like Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder, who may be one of the most valuable players in the league in terms of bang for the buck … Glue guys like Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko bring a lot of energy without asking for a lot of touches … Really strong fast break team … Just so many assets on the team that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they acquire a star during the course of the season.

WEAKNESSES: There’s still not enough star power at this point … While both Thomas and Horford are excellent, it’s not the most frightening one-two punch out there … They could use another creative scorer, as proved by their shortcomings in the first-round playoff series vs. Atlanta … Outside shooting was a clear issue last season with the team finishing in the Bottom 3 in three-point shooting percentages in 2015-16 … Probably will remain so this year … Most of the wing players are of the slashing type… There’s not an awful lot of intimidation down low … Half the team is 25 or younger … Some more veteran leadership would be welcome.

PREDICTION: 1st in the Atlantic Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference.

SALARIES:

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