2020-2021 Celtics Season Recap
With the next NBA Season just around the corner, fans are concerned with how the Celtics will bounce back from a disappointing 36-36 season. However, General Manager Brad Stevens has the team set up for a stronger year and for when the big free agents will hit the market next off-season.
The Boston Celtics have been threats in the Eastern Conference for the past five seasons, with their last first-round playoff exit in the 2016 Postseason. After several deep playoff runs, including three trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics lost to the Nets in the first round of the 2021 season in five games. Boston started this past season looking very strong, going 8-4 in their first twelve games. But injuries and COVID protocols soon caught up to the team, and their season took a downturn.
In an attempt to make up for these injuries, Boston traded away young talent, such as Daniel Theis, in an effort to upgrade their frontline scoring. Unfortunately for Celtics fans, this led to a barrage of losses leading the Celtics to finish as the 7th seed in the East.
How Brad Stevens Has Upgraded The Roster
With Danny Ainge stepping down as General Manager, former head coach Brad Stevens moved upstairs to follow in his footsteps. While most didn’t expect much from Stevens, he aggressively brought in a mix of young and veteran players in an attempt to fill holes in the roster.
As long as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are healthy, the Celtics will always be a better than .500 team. But even this duo cannot make the Celtics title contenders by themselves. Boston’s improvement this coming season will rely more on depth. Stevens has brought in many valuable bench pieces this offseason, such as Kris Dunn, Enes Kanter, Josh Richardson, Al Horford, and most recently, Dennis Schröder.
Another Stevens upgrade is hiring well-respected Ime Udoka (of the Popovich coaching tree) as their 18th head coach in history. In 2021, the Celtics ranked 25th in total assists per game, a significant dip from two seasons prior when they were 5th in the league. Udoka plans to prioritize ball movement in this upcoming season, stating, “We want to have more team basketball,” but at the same time he is highly optimistic, saying, “there’s an incredible amount of talent.”
With Marcus Smart and Robert Williams resigning to team-friendly deals, the Celtics are also set up well for next year’s free-agent class, which includes the likes of Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard. This could lead to championship runs for years to come.
2021-2022 Season Prediction
Boston’s 36-36 record in the 2020-2021 season was a huge let-down. Assuming full health, the upgrades Brad Stevens made, in addition to the jumps in Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith’s games over the summer, the Celtics are poised to have a much better record this season. They are looking at 48+ wins this year and will likely make another deep run in the playoffs. This season looks to be a mere stepping stone for the team to become perennial title contenders.
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