Sure, the Toronto Raptors added Kawhi Leonard, but the real king is out in the Western Conference now. Boston has been in LeBron’s shadow for a while now, and with their core reading to mow down the East, now is the time for them to make their run. The 76ers and Raptors are still in the mix for the better teams, but Boston right now is the clear cut favorites to make a run at the Warriors. Boston just barely losing without Hayward and Irving to Cleveland last season says it all. The king’s departure opens the door for Boston to be the elite in the East.
Boston has a ton of depth, and Brad Stevens also has to think about Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward coming off pretty major injuries. The depth on this Boston roster is strong, which will likely lead Stevens to limiting them at times, especially when the schedule gets heavy. Stevens is one of the league’s best coaches, and it would be a surprise to see any member of the Celtics over 33 minutes per game this season. Al Horford will get stretches of rest, while the young wing players can give Stevens plenty of starting five options on a nightly basis.
Robert Williams fell in the draft due to a lot of off the court issues. He has a ton of talent, but he has already shown why he fell in the draft. He has missed practices and opening interviews with the team due to missing calls and planes. If the rookie can shape up, Boston has desperately needed a big rebounder and rim protector with some athleticism. Williams would fill this role. While he won’t be a huge minutes eater, given Baynes and Horford still will see time ahead of him, he could still get in the mix to be a key contributor.
It was the opening minute of the season when Gordon Hayward went down last season, which opened the door for some of the younger players, but also left a bit of a gap in the offense at times. This year they do get Irving back as well, but they lacked a secondary scorer with consistency last season. Hayward will give that to them, and we now get the dream team that Danny Ainge wanted for this year. Hayward also adds on the defensive side, and his ability to slow down other small forwards is an underrated aspect to his game.
Resigning Marcus Smart was a big part of the offseason priorities for Boston. They already have Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, and Terry Rozier as their changeable bench players. Of course Brad Stevens could go a number of ways on a nightly basis, which makes us ask this question. The front court depth could be helped out if Robert Williams gets things in order. They also still have Aron Baynes who may not be flashy, but is a big that can give Stevens some minutes. It is hard to look around the league and see this much depth, especially at the guard positions.