Huge challenge 1: The Celtics will not garner a lot sympathy from the opposite 29 groups within the league on this, however one of many staff’s huge points shall be tips on how to kind out the expertise available, when stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return to a bunch that underwent a postseason surge with out them however shall be anticipated to slip again in behind Irving and Hayward within the staff’s pecking order.
Rookie Jayson Tatum confirmed the potential to deal with a job as a No. 1 scorer, and Terry Rozier confirmed he deserves to be a place to begin guard within the NBA. Jaylen Brown nonetheless wants work, however displayed a capability to be a top-tier two-way participant within the league. Oh, and Al Horford remains to be an anchor on each side of the ball. That is six worthy gamers for 5 beginning spots.
That is led to hypothesis that the Celtics shall be concerned in commerce talks this summer season for a few of its expertise, and so they certainly may have discussions. A few of the gamers who’ve been concerned in that hypothesis — Karl-Anthony Cities, Anthony Davis — are pipe goals. San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard is a extra life like Celtics goal, however may require too steep a worth in return.
Nonetheless, the Celtics may have some lumps within the roster to easy out, too many guys who deserve huge roles however not sufficient alternatives for all of them. Once more, loads of groups want to have that downside, however it is going to be one thing that, with out adjustments, coach Brad Stevens must work out.
Huge challenge 2: Like most groups within the league, the Celtics haven’t got a great reply at heart, selecting to go small typically with Horford within the center or, extra incessantly, huge with conventional heart Aron Baynes, who was a cut price at $Four.three million.
The Celtics had been the top-ranked defensive staff within the NBA final 12 months, No. 2 at defending the pick-and-roll and No. 10 in field-goal proportion allowed on photographs inside six ft. They managed to defend the paint with out a dominant, shot-blocking heart.
Nonetheless, heart is the one spot the place the Celtics have room for an improve. They’d do exactly high-quality bringing again the identical forged of characters within the center subsequent 12 months, however they may nonetheless seek for a long-term reply on the spot this summer season.
Free-agent outlook: Three free-agent points are dealing with the Celtics this offseason, although none with fairly as a lot resonance because the free-agent strikes that dominated the final two summers, when Boston signed Horford, then Hayward.
The primary is Marcus Good, who shall be a restricted free agent and by no means bought all that near a contract extension with the Celtics final fall, and was out there on the commerce deadline for a first-round choose this 12 months. That is a reasonably good indication that Boston doesn’t intend to convey him again, although he might wind up staying round on a one-year qualifying provide if an outdoor staff refuses to place down a serious bid this summer season.
Second shall be Baynes, who shall be 32 in December, however proved to be a really helpful piece throughout the Celtics’ postseason run. If the Celtics do not make a splashy transfer for a middle, Baynes can be price a piece of the mid-level exception.
Lastly, there may be Rozier, who’s eligible for a contract extension and certainly feels he has earned a severe bump up in pay after averaging 16.5 factors, 5.7 assists and 5.three rebounds within the postseason, committing simply 1.2 turnovers in 36.6 minutes. It is uncertain that the Celtics will hand Rozier an extension forward of his restricted free-agency 12 months, particularly when he figures to be a outstanding a part of commerce talks this summer season.
The younger of us: The Celtics have eight gamers, together with two-way contract guard Jabari Fowl, who had been born in 1994 or later. If you speak concerning the younger of us on this staff, you’re citing the majority of the roster.
Boston does have one of the thrilling younger gamers within the league in Tatum, who will possible end third to Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell within the Rookie of the Yr vote, however who confirmed over the course of the postseason that he has as a lot potential as these two and could be essentially the most polished NBA participant of the three. Oh, and he is solely 20.
The opposite prime younger participant on the Boston roster is Brown, simply 21 and in his second season. Brown is a mature and well-rounded participant who’s simply starting to fill out his sport — he was introduced alongside slowly as a rookie — and has gained confidence because the 12 months has gone on. Each he and Tatum have All-Star potential.
However the Celtics produce other younger guys who might become function gamers. Rookie Semi Ojeleye may by no means be a lot of an offensive risk, however he’s already a flexible sufficient defender that Stevens had him on the ground for prolonged minutes within the playoffs when he wanted an inside-outside defensive presence.
And it is going to be price watching how hefty French ahead Guerschon Yabusele, who’s simply 22 and was the No. 16 choose within the 2016 draft, comes alongside. He has the construct of Charles Barkley, and the staff hopes he can become an efficient stretch-Four.
Wanting forward, the Celtics have the No. 27 choose on this 12 months’s draft and, doubtlessly, 4 first-rounders subsequent season, when the staff may have its personal choose, Memphis’ choose (protected for the highest eight), Sacramento’s choose (protected for No. 1) and a lottery-protected choose from the Clippers.
Wait until subsequent 12 months: Wait, certainly.
By taking LeBron James and Cleveland to the brink of elimination within the convention finals and disposing simply of the Sixers within the convention semis, the Celtics have already established themselves because the staff to beat within the East for subsequent 12 months and, in all probability, the following half-decade.
They did that with out Irving and Hayward. If these two are wholesome and could be efficiently built-in again into the staff program, this can be a loaded roster and a staff that will not simply be favored within the convention for the foreseeable future, however shall be on par with the West powerhouses for the following handful of league championships.