We finally made it. Opening night for the Boston Celtics is finally here. I’ve been waiting for this day since May 9th, the day after Milwaukee knocked us out of the playoffs. Since that final game last season, a lot has changed. No more Kyrie. No more Horford. No more Baynes, Morris, or Rozier.
This year is going to be filled with plenty of question marks. How will Kemba Walker do during his first year in Boston? Who will step up in the absence of Al Horford? The team added a lot of young guys through the NBA Draft; how will they adapt to the NBA, and how big of an impact will they make?
The best part about this upcoming season is that there are no high expectations. Yes, this is the Boston Celtics. The hope is to always compete for a championship. But after last year, we have a new set of expectations.
We expect Jayson Tatum to take a huge step this year. He didn’t do it last year, like many people expected him to. We expect Gordon Hayward to come out of the gates looking like the old Gordon Hayward. You know, the Gordon Hayward we gave a max contract to two summers ago. We expect Jaylen Brown to bounce back from his off-year and look as legit as he did during the playoffs in 2018.
This team isn’t expected to win 67 games. They’re expected to float around the 47-50 range. This team isn’t expected to have an easy path to the NBA Finals and take the Western Conference champs to seven games. The expectations aren’t sky high, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Nobody is expecting the Celtics to go far or be relevant this season. Nobody thinks this team can step up to the top-tier teams in the league and stand their ground. The underdog Celtics are back, and this is how we want it to be.
The underdog Celtics are notorious for exceeding people’s expectations and stomping on the throats of teams who are supposed to be the ones doing the stomping.
The Isaiah Thomas Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals when people didn’t think we’d go far with a 5’9 point guard. The 2018 Celtics without Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving made it to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron’s Cavaliers.
The Kemba Walker-led Celtics are looking to write their own history this season. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were once considered one of the best young duos in the entire league, but now nobody even bats an eye when their names are brought up in that conversation. Gordon Hayward is coming off a full offseason of building himself back up to where he once was with zero restrictions.
The Celtics picked up some rookies that can make an immediate impact. Carsen Edwards is a walking bucket and will score a whole lot of points during his career. Grant Williams is a guy that’ll do whatever is asked of him. Tremont Waters adds a feistiness that this team will desperately need at times. When healthy, Romeo Langford will give the team some much-needed buckets. Tacko Fall… yeah, you already know about him.
Enes Kanter is one of the best rebounders in the league, and rebounding has been a weakness for the Celtics for a long, long time. He may not bring everything that Al Horford would bring to the table, but he does add rebounding, something Horford was never great at.
My expectations for this team is simple: get better as the year goes on and play with a chip on their shoulder every single night. Win around 47-50 games and stand toe-to-toe with the best of them.
Jayson Tatum will make a jump this year, I can guarantee it. This will be Tatum’s team one day very soon, and this is the year he starts to prove he can handle the pressure of being the best player on a contending team.
Gordon Hayward will go back to looking like the old Gordon Hayward. He won’t put up 20+ points a night or be an All-Star, but he will score around 17 points a night and contribute plenty of rebounds and assists.
Marcus Smart will grow as a leader and be the ultimate sixth man on this squad. He has and will always be my favorite player, and he’s going to be the glue guy that keeps this team together if things start to go sideways.
Jaylen Brown no longer has to worry about getting paid after this year, so now he can focus on winning and not earning a large contract. He had an off-year, as we all know, but now that he can go back to being himself and solidifying his role on this team.
Kemba Walker will show that he was born for the bright lights. He wasn’t able to accomplish much in Charlotte, mainly because of poor management and failing to be surrounded with the proper talent to make a playoff run. Now that he’s on a team where he’s surrounded by talent and has a chance to make an impact in the playoffs, he won’t disappoint. Cardiac Kemba has officially arrived in Boston.
That’s it. That’s my rant for what I think will happen for this upcoming season. My excitement levels are sky-high, and I’m ready for the Celtics to come out and show everybody what they’re made of.
This year is going to be an exciting one. Will it be a journey? Yes, but it’s going to be a fun ride. LFG Celtics!!!
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