When Avery Bradley said that the Celtics “have a chance to make the playoffs and make a lot of noise this year” what did you think? I was excited. I love his confidence and I agree with him too. The Celtics can really only take one of two roads this season. They could play some fun and exciting basketball and end up in the 7th or 8th seed in the East or they can try for another top draft pick and end up with the 10th or 11th spot in the East and out of the playoffs.
For them to make the playoffs it is going to be especially hard though, because it seems like the Eastern conference is beefing up and will pose a challenge to the bottom seeded teams. Chicago will continue to get better with Derrick Rose back and Pau Gasol joining Joakim Noah. Washington is looking to really break out this season with Wall, Beal, and Gortat being their big three and also now having a solid veteran with Paul Pierce. Then there is obviously Cleveland. Really no explanation needed. Teams like Brooklyn, Toronto, and New York will just be good solid teams this year and look to definitely be in the playoffs.
What does that leave? Well, it leaves the 7th and 8th spots open. And what about Indiana and Miami? Indiana may see some struggles this season since they are without Paul George for at least most of the season and the league leader in triple doubles last season, Lance Stephenson, decided to head out to Charlotte. That leaves them with Roy Hibbert and an ‘ok’ supporting cast, but I think they will get chewed up by the rest of the Eastern Conference who just has much more potential than them.
And now Miami. Without LeBron, I believe that Bosh and Wade can still support and good team, but only with the Dwayne Wade of 5 years ago. His knees are weak and he can no longer play all 82 games. They are going to have to rely more on their young players in Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier and their past role players of Battier and Anderson. I also think they will not do well in this conference this year and that a young, quick, energetic team like the Celtics could easily beat them up and down the court for 48 minutes.
If you could consider the Pacers and Heat out of the playoffs from the start then I believe the Celtics will really have to fight Charlotte and Detroit for the 7th and 8th seed. But here again is where Avery Bradley’s confidence excites me because he is also right.
The Celtics are going to have one of the best front courts in the league, and a young one too. Bradley, Rondo, and Smart are three amazing defenders but are also quick, flashy passers and crafty shooters that can weave through the opposing defense. Having Green, Young, and Turner on the wing is great too. All of them are 6’7 or 6’8 with much larger wingspans which makes for better potential on defense. They are also quick too and will run the court with Bradley, Rondo, and Smart and they can all shoot well too. As inconsistent as Jeff Green was last year, and I have said this so many times, he can really turn it around this year and be a dominant player in this league.
This is why I think Bradley said they could make a lot of noise. No one expects them to do anything impressive this year, but their energy and youth will shock the league, and they will be sitting at a bottom seed playoff spot at the end of the season which will be something great to be able to build upon next year.