Season preview: Boston Celtics

Season preview: Boston Celtics

Previews

Season preview: Boston Celtics

STAYING: Aron Baynes, Jabari Bird, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis and Guerschon Yabusele.

ADDED: Justin Bibbs (Virginia Tech), PJ Dozier (Oklahoma City), Nicholas King (Middle Tennesee), Walter Lemon Jr. (Fort Wayne), Jeff Roberson (Vanderbilt), Brad Wanamaker (Fenerbahce) and Robert Williams (Texas A&M).

GONE: Kadeem Allen (New York), Abdel Nader (Oklahoma City), Jonathan Gibson (Qingdao Eagles), Shane Larkin (Anadolu Efes) and Greg Monroe (Toronto).

STRENGTHS: They are just chock full of quality players … Deepest team in the NBA? … The Celtics have star power, creative playmakers, fine shooters, lockdown defenders, paint enforcers, great young talent … It’s an embarrassment of riches … Kyrie Irving is one of the most clutch/talented players in basketball … Might be the best ballhandler too … With Terry Rozier, Boston can boast of having the top point guard duo in the NBA … Wing play should be no joke with former All-Star Gordon Hayward and likely future All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown along with defensive pest Marcus Smart … They are a problem from long range … Five Celtics averaged at least one three-pointer per game with better than 38 percent shooting last season … One of them is Al Horford, who hit 10 threes in his first seven seasons as a pro … The Dominican big man remains a low-key ultra efficient player … He’s quite a glue guy too … So far, Brad Stevens has done an outstanding job maximizing the team’s talent … They led the league in defensive rating last season … D should not be a problem.

WEAKNESSES: Health … Irving has a history of missing significant time pretty much every year …  He’s been sidelined 21 percent of regular-season games ever since he entered the NBA … Hayward comes off a brutal injury that made him miss the entire 2017-18 … There’s going to be a lot of rust … Is everybody going to be happy with their minutes and shots? … Rozier has proven himself a starting-caliber point guard, yet he can’t shine with Irving ahead of him … Not much size or athleticism down low … The team’s tallest player is 6-foot-10.

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

SALARIES:

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