2023-2024 NBA Preview: Boston Celtics’ Quest for the Title

Boston Celtics NBA Preview 2023 2024

Who will step up to the throne after the Denver Nuggets were crowned NBA champions? Over the next month, our team examines all 30 NBA franchises. Today, we focus on the storied Boston Celtics.

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2022/2023 Season Recap: A Promise Unfulfilled

Having reached the NBA Finals in 2022, the Celtics embarked on the 2022/23 season brimming with confidence. The regular season was relatively smooth. Joe Mazzulla, stepping in unexpectedly for Ime Udoka, retained the team’s character while adding a slightly more offensive touch. From the outset, the players knew the expectations and how to rise to the occasion. Jayson Tatum even found himself in the early MVP conversations. New additions, like Malcolm Brogdon, integrated seamlessly with Brogdon earning the Sixth Man of the Year accolade.

Entering the playoffs, the Celtics, full of hope, managed to overcome the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. However, it wasn’t a straightforward series. With a comfortable 3-0 lead, Boston let the Hawks claw back two victories, unnecessarily extending the series. A slightly strenuous win over the 76ers followed, pushing them to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. The series began disastrously for the Celtics, as they quickly found themselves in a 3-0 hole. Showing resilience, the team managed to tie the series 3-3, only to falter in a punishing Game 7. While Boston showcased undeniable talent, the Heat demonstrated unwavering mental fortitude.

2023-2024 Offseason Moves for the Boston Celtics

Departures

  • Malcolm Brogdon (to the Trail Blazers)
  • Robert Williams III (to the Trail Blazers)
  • Grant Williams (to the Mavericks)
  • Marcus Smart (to the Grizzlies)
  • Danilo Gallinari (to the Wizards)
  • Mike Muscala (to the Wizards)
  • Blake Griffin (Free Agent)

Extensions

  • Jaylen Brown (5 years)
  • Payton Pritchard (4 years)

New Additions

  • Jrue Holiday (from the Bucks)
  • Kristaps Porzingis (from the Wizards)
  • Oshae Brissett (from the Pacers)
  • Svi Mykhailiuk (from the Hornets)
  • Dalano Banton (from the Raptors)
  • Lamar Stevens (from the Cavaliers)
  • Jordan Walsh (38th pick in the 2023 draft)

Projected Starting Lineup for the Boston Celtics

Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis

Bench Rotation

Point Guards

Payton Pritchard, Dalano Banton, JD Davison (two-way contract)

Shooting Guards

Svi Mykhailiuk, Jay Scrubb (two-way contract)

Small Forwards

Sam Hauser, Lamar Stevens, Jordan Walsh

Power Forwards

Oshae Brissett

Centers

Al Horford, Luke Kornet, Neemias Queta (two-way contract)

After an unfulfilled promise last season, the Celtics made some significant moves in the offseason to revamp their roster. With a blend of seasoned veterans and young prospects, Boston is looking to make another deep playoff run.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the 2023-2024 Boston Celtics

Weakness: Lack of Depth

The Celtics underwent significant changes this summer, which has resulted in a thin bench compared to last season. The departures of key bench players like Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III, and Grant Williams, who consistently provided solid defense, are deeply felt.

This season, apart from the veteran presence of Al Horford, the rest of the bench appears uncertain. Payton Pritchard will have a heightened responsibility as the primary backup point guard, and he’ll need to show he’s playoff-ready. Players like Brissett, Hauser, and Stevens will also need to elevate their games significantly by the time the postseason arrives.

Strength: The Starting Five

While concerns linger about the bench depth, the starting lineup of the Celtics is nothing short of menacing. Starting with their defense, there’s no weak link to exploit. Additionally, offensively, each player brings versatility and efficiency. The fact that this starting five is quite flexible is another advantage.

While the core four all-stars are almost certain to hold their spots, Coach Joe Mazzulla has the option to occasionally pair Al Horford alongside Kristaps Porzingis, adapting based on the matchup. On the offensive end, this lineup is poised to wreak havoc. Everyone has the ability to shoot, get hot at any given moment, and create offensively. This starting unit needs to assert itself as the best in the league to offset the uncertainties surrounding the bench depth.

Player to Watch: Kristaps Porzingis

Among the new additions to the Celtics, integrating Jrue Holiday isn’t expected to pose any challenges. He has proven his ability to adapt in diverse circumstances and fit into various styles of play. However, there remain doubts surrounding Kristaps Porzingis. He’s coming off a strong season in Washington, albeit in a team without any tangible championship ambitions. His earlier days in New York were also impressive, but again, in a franchise lacking direction.

However, his stint in Dallas, where he was expected to be the right-hand man to Luka Dončić, was underwhelming. Simply put, he still needs to prove that he can perform at a high level in a title-contending team. The Celtics won’t demand as much from him as Dallas did, but he’ll still need to rise to the occasion. Furthermore, remaining healthy will be crucial, as his injury history has always been a point of concern.

Season Prediction: 2nd in the East

The Celtics are anticipated to dominate the Eastern Conference without much trouble. Their imposing starting lineup should quell any concerns about the depth of their bench. However, the departure of Marcus Smart will inevitably thrust either Tatum or Brown into the locker room leadership role. Up till now, both have been relatively low-key, allowing Smart to be the vocal leader when necessary.

It’s crucial that someone steps up into that role as the season progresses. As we’ve seen, the Celtics can occasionally suffer from lapses in focus or motivation. What may slide during the regular season could be detrimental in the playoffs. Consequently, Boston has 82 games to address this leadership vacuum.

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