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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SDH's 2014/2015 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 28. Boston Celtics

Overall Win/Loss Record:  25-57, fifth place Atlantic Division

2014/2015 Projection: 24-58, fifth place Atlantic Division, fourteenth place Eastern Conference

Preseason Rank

Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 96.2 (26th)
  • Points Allowed: 100.7 (13th)
  • Team FG%: .435 (28th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .465 (23rd)
  • Team FT%: .777 (10th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .333 (28th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.5 (18th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 42.3 (13th)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.4 (20th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 13.7 (18th)

Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
Projected Opening Day Starters Based on Past Performances and Projected Impact:

Key Reserves Rank Based on Past Performances and Projected Impact:

  1. Evan Turner (G/F)
  2. Brandon Bass (F)
  3. Gerald Wallace (F)
  4. Marcus Thornton (G)
  5. Tyler Zeller (C)

Six years ago, Celtics fans had to wait for 22 years to witness their team finally bring an NBA Championship to Bean Town, and enjoyed a five year span of prosperity which saw five straight Atlantic Division titles, a second NBA Finals appearance in 2010, and a lifetime of memories. Sadly, that era is now gone and it seems that the Shamrock faithful will have to endure another 22 years of futility until their beloved team returns to relevancy once again.  Team Head Man Danny Ainge certainly has not given fans and those observing the league any reason to think the contrary as he followed a rather lackluster off season with an even more disturbingly uneventful post season.  Despite all the talk of trying to pry +Kevin Love away from the +Minnesota Timberwolves, all those hopes turned to dust when the Wolves sent Love to the +Cleveland Cavaliers and got both the 2013 and 2014  number overall picks in the NBA Draft--+Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.   Other than that, the offseason can be graded as an absolute failure as the Celtics failed to garner any interest as a destination for free agents in what was billed as the richest free agent crop in recent memory, and were forced to settle for scraps leaving the team and its fans to endure another painfully lost season.

The current roster consists of second rate players who were either selected very low in the draft or dead weight contracts acquired from bad trades in  which no respectable NBA would touch with a ten foot pole.  Gerald Wallace, who gave this broken down Green Machine just five points and four boards per game off the bench last season, is still owed 20$ million for the next two seasons.  At the same time both Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton--a player that the Celtics picked up in an offseason garbage swap with the +Brooklyn Nets--will be most likely coming off the bench and will be earning a cool 16.5$ million together this season.  Fortunately for the Celtics, Thornton's contract will be off the books at the end of the season giving the team a valuable chip come the trade deadline, but they still be stuck with 34$ million on its cap space for the next couple years. That both hampers the Celtics ability to attract high quality free agents and hampers the development of the team's younger players, who in all honesty are not much to write home about either.

Much faith has been put on the Celtics' youth movement to lead the team into the future, but the sad reality is that none of these players have the goods in terms of ability and athleticism to accomplish that goal.  Despite putting up decent numbers last season, neither Kelly Olynyk or Jared Sullinger showed that they can be considered as future franchise players to build upon. Olynk certainly has the potential to have a long and productive career in the +NBA, but don't expect him to turn into the next Kevin McHale anytime soon because he simply does not have the physical tools, the athleticism, or the skill set to take his game to that level.  The same goes for Jared Sullinger, who although he posted a respectable 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, he did so by shooting a less than stellar .427 from the field and probably would not even start, let alone play significant minutes for a respectable NBA team.  Those two players were selected rather low in the draft and in most cases would have very low expectations had they been on any other team; however, in the case of the Celtics, where pride is high, but logic and reason are both in short supply, they have ridiculously high expectations put upon them in which they have virtually no way of living up to.     

And those are not the only Celtics who will have ridiculous expectations put upon them by fans and the Boston media only to have them crash and burn once the regular season tips off. Tyler Zeller, who was practically given away to the Celtics by the Cavs for nothing, probably will never live up to his days as one of college basketball's best big men playing for North Carolina as he has not shown it thus far, but don't say that to a hardcore Celtics fan.  Jeff Green, who led the Celtics in scoring last season, was touted as being the successor to living Celtic legend +Paul Pierce and create a new legacy with a new generation of Celtics; however, after an up and down performance last season, both the franchise and its fans seemed to have lost faith in him.  Green will most likely be used as trade bait along with Thornton and +Rajon Rondo, who had conveniently suffered a broken hand right before the start of training camp.  While one remnant of past Celtic glory heads off into the sunset, Danny Ainge found it wise to overpay another one, Avery Bradley--an undersized shooting guard who spent most of his career coming off the bench--to a $32 million contract extension giving the team another dead weight untradeable contract for the next four years to go along with Wallace's and Bass'.

To put it bluntly, the way things have been going of late, Celtics need a miracle if both they and their fans want experience that blissful six year run where for once in a blue moon, they were relevant in the NBA.  Celtics fans love to tout their proud history of championship banners, legendary players, and past glory days, but sadly, that is all that they will probably ever have for a very long time and Danny Ainge knows it.  He, as well as the rest of the Celtics front office, ownership, and brain trust know that fans will remain stuck reminiscing about past successes that they can take as long as they want in even trying to make the team relevant again.  And that is why Boston will continue to linger in mediocrity for the next eight to ten years until the natives start getting restless fifteen years into the Celtics' rebuilding project.  For now, however, watch as the entire basketball world and media collectively sweep the Celtics under the carpet until the magical day in which the storied franchise will rise again.