Celtics’ bold predictions ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season
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The Boston Celtics could be frighteningly good during the 2022-23 NBA season.
While we can’t know for sure yet, we also feel like we’re already doing it. They were a sensation for the better part of last season, ending the campaign in a 33-10 sprint and going on to the NBA Finals.
They couldn’t seal the deal with a title, but that may have pushed them into more productive off-season practice than they would have had with the win. They were really impressed with the trade for Malcolm Brogdon and the signing of Danilo Galinari, and while the latter has since lost to an AFC Champions League rupture, the former still looms large as one of the summer’s most impactful additions.
How good can a shamrock be this time? To help answer that question, we put together three bold predictions for coach Ime Udoka’s group.
Boston has 3 All-Stars
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Jayson Tatum has the status of an All Star until he decides he doesn’t want one anymore. He’s been picked in each of the past three seasons – the last two as a start – and should only see more invitations come his way as the 24-year-old continues to improve his game.
Jaylen Brown is getting close to achieving the same for himself. He was an All-Star in 2020-21 but didn’t take the call last season despite publishing similar numbers. If he can raise the bar for ball handling and play making, that wouldn’t be a discussion in the future.
For Boston to have three stars—something that hasn’t been around since Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen took a trip together in 2011—it only needs one more player to make the leap.
Perhaps a healthy Malcolm Brogdon can get there. If Robert Williams III sees enough move, the spot could be his. Marcus Smart could get the nod with an even greater insult, or perhaps Al Horfords could turn back the clock and make such an impact on the victory that voters have no choice but to pick him.
The Celtics Win 63
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Only three times in franchise history has Boston topped 63 wins: 1972-73, 1985-86 and 2007-08.
Can this group make it four?
The easy answer is no. But after watching this group spend the final three months of 2021-22 on a similar trajectory (33-10 and a 63-win tempo), it doesn’t take a huge leap of logic to believe this could happen.
Health may be Boston’s biggest hurdle, and admittedly, that’s a huge hurdle. Gallinari has already been pulled out of the equation, Williams has just had surgery on his left knee, and Brogdon has had trouble staying grounded lately.
If injuries don’t pile up, this list may offer the best combination of high-level talent and depth.
Boston shines through eastern playoffs and wins the championship
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The Celtics will enter next season with all eyes on the award. They had a great opportunity to secure the last one – they were 1-0 up and 2-1 in the finals – and perhaps the lessons learned in that series will guide them through the next round of the tournament.
“The biggest message has been to learn from this, to evolve from it, to build on this experience, and to know there is another level to go to,” Odoka told reporters in June. “Just don’t support the same thing as the players and the coaching staff. Let that feed you all season next year.”
If the Celtics channel their frustrations right, they may not be stopped.
Remember, they looked pretty unbeatable last season, when they didn’t have that extra fuel, let alone Brogdon’s experience, shot making, defending and distributing.
If they reach their full potential, they may not seriously sweat until the finals and could have more than enough to claim a world title.