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2018 Celtics Preview

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2018 Celtics Preview


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By Ryan Guilbeau ’20 and Keegan Kerr ’20

October 17, 2017 was the date set to tip off the 2017-2018 NBA Regular season. The new look Celtics, with offseason additions Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and rookie Jayson Tatum, were hungry for an NBA Championship. However, only a little over 5 minutes into their season opener in Cleveland, Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury, and was sidelined for the rest of the season. League insiders and fans alike immediately ruled out any possibility of the Celtics advancing far in the playoffs, and the season looked to be a waste. But rookie Jayson Tatum, with help from Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris and others, instantly filled the hole Hayward’s absence left. The Celtics, to the surprise of many, looked ready to compete for a Championship even without the play of all star Gordon Hayward. But more bad luck struck the team when point guard Kyrie Irving went down late in the regular season with a knee injury that forced him into a season ending surgery. Again, young role players, this time Terry Rozier, filled in almost seamlessly and the Celtics ran their promising season deep into the playoffs.

Without the all star play of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics advanced all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, where Lebron James and the Cavaliers finally eliminated them. Although the team came up short of the Finals, they made it much farther than most basketball pundits and fans expected – setting the bar high for the 2018-2019 season.

The past two seasons in a row, the Celtics have been eliminated by the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, during the offseason, fourteen time all-star Lebron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Lebron’s departure leaves the Cavaliers without a true superstar talent, and thus the team is no longer a real threat in the Eastern Conference. The new teams that emerge as the best of the East are the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto is led by newly acquired Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, and point guard Kyle Lowry. The 76ers are led by center Joel Embiid, and is accompanied by Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons. However, many sports fans and critics say Boston is the best of the three.

More good news came for the Celtics in late August. Hayward said that he feels 100 percent, and is ready for the season opener. Kyrie echoed Hayward, saying his knee feels great ahead of training camp and is ready to be back. Having Hayward and Irving back (and healthy) is a huge addition to the Celtics squad. As well as Hayward and Irving coming back, first and second year players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have likely improved in the offseason. With all players healthy, the most likely starting lineup would be Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. The bench will consist of Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, and other notable contributors, many of whom started during the playoffs. Watch out, NBA, the Celtics are poised to be the next dynasty.

Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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