Now is a very good time to a Boston Celtics supporter. They should be finally able to reach the NBA Finals for the 1st time since 2010. They have a wealth of talent on their roster, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are back from injury and that pesky LeBron James has left the Eastern Conference.
Now is the time for the Celtics to live up to their potential and they have the ability to push any team in a 7 game series. Even though they have a lot of promise they still have to play 82 regular season games and push through the Playoffs. Anything can happen from now till then and I am going to note the 5 problems that face Boston this campaign.
5. Terry Rozier Contract
When Kyrie Irving went down injured last season it was up to Rozier to fill his spot in the starting lineup. He didn’t let the pressure get to him however and excelled with the increase in minutes. Rozier is still very young at 23 and has shown the world what he can do.
He is also in the last year of his contract and is due a huge pay increase. With all the young stars on the Celtics roster, they will not be able to give Rozier the money he deserves. The Celtics know this and may choose to try and trade him mid-season, which could cause some instability for their squad.
4. Philadelphia Sixers And Toronto Raptors
Although the Celtics are the favorites to win the East next season there are still 2 other teams that will be very hard to beat. The 76ers are very tough thanks to Embiid and Ben Simmons and Toronto has upgraded DeMar DeRozan with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Both Philly and Toronto have great rosters and a 7 game series with either of those teams would surely go the distance. The Celtics must be wary and use their encounters with these 2 teams to their fullest by learning as much information as possible in these matchups to gain an edge in the postseason.
Having a very deep squad is both a blessing and a curse. Having a lot of talent is very useful but finding the minutes to give everyone what they should have is very hard. Who should play more; Gordon Hayward of Jayson Tatum? Who should be the main backup PG; Marcus Smart of Terry Rozier?
Everyone needs minutes but finding the right combination for this Celtics squad will be key to them performing well this season. I think that Hayward and Tatum should both start to give Boston huge amounts of floor space to let Kyrie go to work in the pick and roll.
2. Kyrie Irving Contract
Although he has come out and said that he wants to stay a lot can change over the course of a regular season. The Celtics could massively underperform and Kyrie could find that playing in New York could be better for him long term.
It would be hard to see Kyrie leave Boston given that he’s the best player on their squad. He has a player option for the 2019-20 season which he is likely to decline to get more money.
So even though Irving has stated publically he’ll be returning to the Celtics for the foreseeable future, never rule out the chance Kyrie may flip the switch and elect to become a free agent at the end of this season.
Hayward is coming back from a very scary broken leg and we have to see if he has fully recovered. A break like that is very serious and Gordon needs to be careful in his return. He won’t just have the physical stress to deal with; there will huge amounts of mental stress and worry about whether his next hard drive to the rim will end up like it did when he broke his leg. Hopefully, he’s fine though.
Kyrie Irving has been an injury worry ever since he came into the league. He’s only averaged 63 games per season thanks to him constantly picking up injuries. If he goes down again like he did last season then that could stop Boston from achieving what it wants to.