The 2018 Boston Celtics could be historically great. Not good great but historical. Outside of the 2008 NBA championship team, this may be the most talented team from top to bottom and their leader in Kyrie Irving truly believes that they can “beat the Warriors in a series.” What makes them this talented, deep and impressive? A little bit of everything from the very top to the very bottom. They boast the widely regarded best GM in basketball in Danny Ainge who flipped a 2014 Celtics team that won 25 games into this monster of a roster in just a few years. They also boast the best young coach in basketball who is widely regarded as one of the very best in basketball himself. Yet it doesn’t stop there.
The ownership, GM and coach are all top of the line, but the players still make the team and they boast quite the collection of players. Starting at the top, this may be the most complete starting five in the NBA outside of the Golden State Warriors and this isn’t much of a surprise.
Kyrie Irving is notoriously known as one of the top five point guards in the NBA, Jaylen Brown will be starting at shooting guard and at 21 years old he is coming off a playoff stretch in which he averaged 18 points per game and he will round out the backcourt. Of course, the storyline behind the forwards will be the return of all-star Gordon Hayward after playing just five minutes last season. It may be a waiting game until he fully returns to form but if he is the player he used to be, he will be something very special underneath former collegiate coach Brad Stevens.
Jayson Tatum was one of the best rookies in the league last season and many people believe he is going to be one of the best players in the NBA in short order as well. His sophomore season will see him playing a lot of important minutes but not be relied upon to score as much. Finally, Al Horford will be the teams starting center. Much has been made over whether Al Horford is truly an all-star or whether he is “average Al” but he certainly put doubters to bed during the playoffs. He will be the leader on defense and will be quite possibly the most important player on the team.
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The starting five will be deep, explosive and dynamic all the way across the board. There are few weak spots on the team and it will be extremely fun to watch night in and night out. Beyond the starters, however, comes the depth and bench. There is a reason that the Celtics were just one game away from the NBA finals without their two all-star players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
They have depth at every position and they are coming off an offseason in which they have brought for the most part everybody back. Daniel Theis played valuable minutes off the bench before going down with a season-ending injury and he will be returning this year. Marcus Morris was just what the doctor ordered regarding toughness and offense off the bench and as he was quoted last week saying, few bench players can guard him. Aron Baynes will be returning and “all of Australia” was viewed as the rim protector that the Celtics desperately needed. Rookie Robert Williams will be looking to make an impact.
Yet none of these players will be as exciting and as important as the Celtics backup backcourt. Marcus Smart signed a four-year contract in the offseason and so many views him as the heart and soul of the Celtics. He will be flying all over the place and he is extremely to a successful season. Finally, Terry Rozier is coming off a hyped-up post season filling in for Kyrie Irving and he is viewed as somebody who could start on many teams in this league. Having him coming off of your bench should strike fear into many teams in the league.
All in all, this Boston Celtics team in the deepest and most talented team that has taken the court in a long time and with a lot of hype surrounding them, it will be interesting to see whether they can rise to the occasion. With an incredible GM, coach, starting five and bench, there doesn’t seem to be a weak spot on the roster. As for expectations? It seems to be a championship or bust season and if Jaylen Brown is correct, you’ll certainly see them in the finals.