Written by: Aarav
Edited by: Justin
Visual by: Zoe
Coming into the opening game of the NBA season all fans and analysts had one big question on their minds: How good are the Boston Celtics?
Many basketball viewers came into this NBA season doubtful that the Celtics could replicate the success which saw them make their NBA Finals appearance in June 2022 due to the nature of the Celtic’s midseason turnaround after starting the season very poorly and unorganized which saw them a midseason record of 19-21. Additionally the Celtics came into the NBA finals with a 70% win probability and choked under the pressure adding to fan skeptisism.
The Celtics have answered all questions about their status as contenders emphatically with a three-game win streak to start the season, beating playoff contenders Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat with relative ease.
The offseason saw the Celtics make many trades and signings that were seen as positive for the roster depth.
Signing Malcolm Brogdon, one of the leagues best bench players and winner of the rookie of the year award, through a trade with the Indiana Pacers and signing small forward Danillo Gallinari added to an already deep bench with Derrick White, Grant Williams, and Payton Pritchard. This had many fans thinking the Celtics had the best squad depth in the NBA.
Gallinari, however, was quickly ruled out for a significant portion of the 2022-2023 season as a result of a torn ACL. Nevertheless, fans maintained their optimism as the Celtics quickly signed seasoned veteran Blake Griffin to fill that void.
The Celtics looked set for a successful 2023 campaign until September when head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for an entire season, citing an inappropriate workplace relationship with a woman who worked within the organization. Udoka was replaced by assistant coach Joe Mazzula who many fans thought lacked the experience needed to handle a championship team.
Due to all the offseason chaos, fans were reasonably concerned with how the Celtics would adapt to a new coach and deal with all the negative press they had all summer.
These concerns were quickly squashed after the Boston Celtics hosted the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden. A phenomenal Celtics performance saw their two superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combine for 70 points in a statement 9-point win by the franchise.
In the game, new signing Malcolm Brogdon also proved that he has what it takes to elevate the Celtics. He rarely turned the ball over and drove to the basket with high efficiency, averaging 1.3 points per drive last season, two things that the Celtics struggled with in their Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors the previous season.
Coach Joe Mazzulla also silenced his doubters by keeping the Celtics style of play almost identical to the season prior. A style that was built on good defense, floor spacing, and isolation play for Tatum and Brown. This helped the star duo use their deep scoring package to both score and set up teammates for open looks on the perimeter.
In this season opener, the Celtics showed that their defense was still among the best in the league, just as it had been the season before; however, this time around, it appeared that their offensive system had also taken a leap over the summer.
The preseason odds for the 2023-24 NBA season have the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and LA Clippers as co-favorites to win the championship.
While it is still early days in the NBA season, it is safe to say that the Celtics have proven their doubters wrong from the very start of the season, solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the NBA Eastern Conference.