At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, many predicted this Boston Celtics team would come out on top of the Eastern Conference. But, after a struggle over roles and teamwork, the Celtics finished 49-33, with the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. With tons of depth and young stars including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, point guard Kyrie Irving could show his star power and lead this team, but it didn’t happen that easily. With lack of leadership and rumors over Kyries unhappiness, the team could never mix as well together like many thought they would. Gordon Hayward, who came back after missing the whole 2017-18 season, never seemed to look like his old self, as he could never even secure his starting role.
Nevertheless, in the first round, they got matched up with the Indiana Pacers, who were without star guard Victor Oladipo. The Celtics looked great in that series as they quickly swept the Pacers, maybe it was all starting to come together? Then, they were matched up with the Milwaukee Bucks, the top seed in the east. In game one, Kyrie looked like he wanted it badly, delivering the Celtics a 22 point victory in Milwaukee. At this point, many thought this Celtics team had what it takes. But the Bucks went on to win the rest of the series 4-1, and the Boston Celtics hopes of bringing another title to their city ended.
In the 2019 draft, the Celtics held the 14th, 22nd, 33rd and the 51st picks in the draft. With many options for the 14th pick, the Boston Celtics took Romeo Langford, shooting guard out of Indiana. Romeo was a high school sensation who really struggled to find his place in Indiana in his only year there. Langford does provide lots of raw talent and promising scoring, so he was surely worth the lottery selection.
With the 22nd pick, the Celtics selected Grant Williams, power forward from Tennessee. Boston got a solid big man here, who shot close to 60% within the arc, and many think he could be the steal of this draft.
With the 33rd pick, the Boston Celtics selected Carsen Edwards. The point guard from Purdue who had a large show out in the NCAA Tournament. His ability to score the ball and playmaking will be key if Terry Rozier decides to leave this offseason. And with the 51st pick, Boston selected Tremont Waters. The small 5′ 11″ point guard from LSU, a versatile scorer who can play make as well. Overall, the Celtics had a pretty good draft, adding loads of potential.
The Celtics do have one of the deepest teams in the NBA, but it may go away quickly as free agency comes up. As they most likely will lose Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics could be left with a young core with no true all-star. If they can get their hands on one, a point guard replacement for Kyrie who could help lead this team would be nice.
I expect Tatum and Brown to really come up next year and provide most of the scoring. If the Celtics don’t resign Irving and Horford, they will around $29 million in the cap. And they still need to resign Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier. They need a true big man as well, someone who can rebound and stay in the paint. This is key as at times Horford spent to much time around the arc. Being able to possibly add one more star will result in this team being atop of the east again, and that’s a must do if they want to win.
With this being one of the best free agencies in a while, the Celtics should do anything to open up a max spot. A necessary move is trying to trade Gordon Hayward, who will make around 32 million next year, but most likely will come off the bench. A rumor that has come around is about Nikola Vucevic, the star big man could be interested in signing with the Celtics. This would be a good move as the Celtics would get that dominate big man, and let Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier take control over the backcourt. Another potential move could be Kemba Walker, the star point guard who has many options this offseason, should consider a team who could win now. If the Celtics could grab either all-star, the team would be back at the top of the east and solidify their young depth with a true leader.
The 2018-19 season saw lots of ups and down for the Celtics. With star point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly leaving, the team will have to find its path from losing one of the top point guards in the NBA. A strong 2019 draft and continuing growth of their solid bench are a proud foundation that Danny Ainge built. The biggest upside to this team is Jayson Tatum. If he can get a bigger role next year then he will show his raw talent can make him a star in this league. Adding an all-star would be key, but the team can look very different next year. No matter last years struggles, Boston will always stick to its winning traditions and try to be at the top of the East this upcoming year.
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