We know there are always championship expectations in a title town city like Boston, can the new-look Celtics add their name to the Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox’s recent success? First, we need to analyze their last two years after departing from their injured star Isaiah Thomas. They saw a lot of promise from their recent draft picks, specifically Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum – two athletic wing-players who are seething with potential.
Jaylen Brown is a versatile small forward who has the athleticism necessary to be a star, Jason Tatum is an offensive stud who still shows signs that he can one day be a franchise player and bonafide number one option. Their growth was temporarily stunted by the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward who both had large contracts and growing pains getting reacquainted in the flow of offense and maintaining the chemistry.
With the departure of Kyrie Irving there should be a clearly defined role for all Celtics players except for Gordon Hayward, who is getting back to his old self and returning to the max-contract player the Celtics had hoped for. While the Celtics did acquire Kemba Walker, the ex-UConn star who is an offensive star, they did lose Al Horford, the unquestioned defensive anchor and a great veteran leader; this loss will definitely cost the Celtics. The Celtics also acquired Enes Kanter, who can still put up points and rebounds but is a defensive liability. While it looks like the Celtics have remained the same level of talent, the East has actually gotten stronger with teams like Milwaukee, Indiana, and Philadelphia adding talent and retaining their key players.
Odds Boston Celtics Win NBA Title +2500
The Celtics will be extremely reliant on the continued development and growth from their young stars, Brown and Tatum. The Celtics look to rely on intangibles like coaching, chemistry, and health in order to make a potential finals run. The NBA is no stranger to championship-altering injuries as we recently witnessed with the Golden State Warriors. According to sportsboooks the Celtics opened at +1600 to win the 2020 NBA Finals, but after losing Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, Boston dropped to +2700, even after signing Walker and Kanter. The question now is, even with the loss of talent from Horford and Irving, will the Celtics be able to reach back and rekindle their 2018 playoff run bravado, when they were devoid of a clear superstar but managed to have major success and were just one game away from the NBA Finals.
Celtics Odds of Winning the Atlantic Division +440
Taking a look at the Boston Celtic’s division, the Atlantic division, including contenders such as the reigning champion Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia Sixers, and Brooklyn Nets. Majority of 2020 sports betting websites rank the Sixers as the top team in part because they without a doubt possess the most talent and upside, however, coaching is still in question as well as Ben Simmons’ shooting prowess. The Raptors have certainly taken a step back as Kawhi signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, but don’t write off the Raptors as they had an impressive 17-5 record in the 22 games that Kawhi sat out and Pascal Siakam has shown immense improvement in such a short period.
The Brooklyn Nets have significantly improved after Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan joined, but chemistry will be an issue and Kevin Durant (ACL) will not be available in the foreseeable future and it is not clear that he will come back at the same level. For these reasons, the Celtics in 2020 will have a talent and coaching advantage over Brooklyn and most likely would be victorious in a playoff matchup against Brooklyn. The Boston fans will also provide more than enough support when facing off against Kyrie Irving. The Toronto Raptors are not expected to be nearly as lethal as they were last year and the Celtics have a deciding perimeter advantage over them but the Raptors still have a very formidable backcourt of Ibaka and Gasol.
In a playoff matchup, you can expect guard play to be more important to each teams’ success, which will ultimately mean the Celtics would defeat the Raptors. The Celtics toughest challenge is the Philadelphia Sixers, which are the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference championship. Although Boston has defeated them in the 2018 playoffs, these Sixers are more mature and have improved their overall talent, especially with the acquisition of Al Horford. The Sixers will have a talent and size edge along with a disdain from their memories of being ousted by the young Celtics; they will be hungrier and more focused, which will be the difference and what ultimately gives them the edge over the Celtics. Celtics Atlantic Division Winner odds are at +440; it would be a courageous pick to take Boston to trump the rest of the division, though they’re odds do have them as runner-ups.
Celtics Over Under Wins Bet: 48.5 Wins at (-110)
Even with these challenges, we can expect a more successful season for the Celtics this year. Being the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after Philadelphia and Milwaukee is extremely likely. They will win anywhere from 50-54 games this season, and will most likely end with a 52-30 record. Not only have the Celtics rid themselves of malcontents like Kyrie and Terry Rozier, but their stars Brown, Tatum, Kemba Walker, and even Marcus Smart are gaining invaluable experience and repertoire with one another through team USA competing in the FIBA World Cup this summer.
With these factors in mind it is hard to see Boston regressing, especially with so much young talent and a recover star like Hayward. The Celtics’ ceiling looks like a Eastern Conference appearance and will most likely be second in the Atlantic division after Philadelphia and eventually be eliminated by them or Milwaukee in the playoffs but the Celtics will certainly take a positive step and get back on track to their championship aspirations.