The Boston Celtics fell short of their goal last season, but are poised to try to make a run in the playoffs. Their season starts next Wednesday against Milwaukee but first, let’s make some bold predictions for their 2020-2021 season.
1. Tatum takes a step back
This is certainly the boldest prediction. Jayson Tatum had a great year last season (averaging 23.4 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per game), but this year he won’t have as much of an impact for Brad Stevens. It was just a preseason game, but Tatum struggled from three-point range (0-4) and made just four shots.
Kemba Walker won’t be ready for the start of the season and he is a player that gets attention from opposing defenses, which gives Tatum some extra space. He won’t really have that at the beginning of the year and could result in worse statistics.
2. They will finish lower than the 5th seed
The Celtics reached the Conference Finals last year after starting the playoffs as the #3 seed, but they won’t be as successful in the regular season this time around. The Bucks are always a top seed and will continue to be with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday at the helm; Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are leading a team in the Nets that are a favorite to win the East; the 76ers finally have a complete starting lineup after acquiring shooters to surround their two stars; the Raptors have Kyle Lowry in a contract year and Pascal Siakam is coming off an appearance on the All-NBA Team; the Wizards have two star players (Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook) that are very motivated to show everyone they are for real. Don’t forget the Miami Heat, who of course beat the Celtics in the Conference Finals and are returning the same group of players.
That’s six teams that have a chance to finish above the Celtics at the end of the regular season. The Celtics schedule isn’t very easy either. Just in the first half of the season, Boston has to play the Bucks and the Nets in the first two games, then have matchups with the Raptors three times, the Wizards and 76ers twice, and the Heat, Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors all once.
3. Celtics lose in the first or second round of the playoffs
Last year, the Celtics got lucky with their first-round matchup. They got to play a 76ers team that was without their star point guard and Brett Brown had to coach numerous players that didn’t even fit on their team. Not to mention, Embiid was forced to carry the team at the end of the series.
This year, if the Celtics are the sixth seed, they would likely end up playing either the Heat or the 76ers (with a complete starting five) in the first round which would be hard enough, and if they get past them, then they’d play the Nets or Bucks. Good luck if that happens.
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