NBA Team Preview: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics entered the 2020-21 season with high hopes of finally capturing the franchise’s 18th world championship, but they ended it on the wrong side of a five-game series loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. That led to quite a front office shakeup, with president Danny Ainge retiring, head coach Brad Stevens moving up to replace Ainge, and Ime Udoka named as Stevens’ successor on the bench.
The former journeyman player and assistant coach for the Spurs, 76ers, and Nets will have some puzzle pieces already in place, but the Celtics are also a work in progress, with their NBA betting lines stature among championship contenders a little off from last season. Still, with a pair of All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston has something to work with from the start and a good team for you to do some online sports betting on.
The Celtics went back to the future a bit with the re-acquiring of veteran big man Al Horford, who spent three seasons with the team from 2016 to 2019 before leaving for two largely struggling years with the 76ers and Thunder. Horford brings defensive savvy as well as timely perimeter offense back, though, at 35, he may find himself in a little more limited role than his previous stint with the team.
Boston was able to sign free agent point guard Dennis Schoder after he was left out of the Lakers’ mix when they acquired Russell Westbrook. Schroder averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists in his one season with Los Angeles and is known for aggressiveness on both ends of the floor.
Guard Josh Richardson will add some depth for the Celtics at the shooting guard/small forward position. Richardson averaged 12.1 points for the Mavericks last season and could be a solid scorer off the bench for Boston.
The Kemba Walker experiment lasted just two seasons, as the former All-Star was oft-injured and just didn’t fit with the Celtics. Though he averaged 19.3 points per game a season ago, he played in only 43 games and wasn’t the passing point guard the Celtics needed with two high-volume scorers around him.
Forward Tristan Thompson was the tough guy inside for Boston a season ago, but with the return of Horford and the emergence of Robert Williams III, there just weren’t going to be minutes for the veteran. Thompson led the Celtics with 8.1 rebounds per game a season ago, so there will be some products on the boards to be replaced.
The Celtics’ chances at a deep playoff run begin and end with the play of Tatum and Brown. Tatum is one of the NBA’s bright young stars, averaging 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a season ago, as he continues to develop his all-around game. Brown, who had his season cut short by injury a season ago, averaged 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists and is just as vital to the Celtics’ success.
Guard Marcus Smart does everything you could ask of a player on both ends of the floor. He’s not the most consistent, but when he gets hot from long range, he can take over a game. And his aggressiveness on the defensive end sets the tone for the team. Every team needs a glue guy, and Smart is one of the best in the game.
Boston Celtics 2021-22 Odds and Lines
2021-22 Win Total: 46.5 Division Odds: +850 Conference Odds: +1600 Title Odds: +4000
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.