Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Danny Ainge

2016-17 Results

Record: 53-29 (1st in the East)

Season Ended: Lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cavs in 5

Key Additions

Draft

Semi Ojeleye (SF), Jayson Tatum (SF), Guerschon Yabusele (SF/PF) Stashed last year

Free Agency

Gordon Hayward (SF), Daniel Theis (PF)

Trade

Kyrie Irving (PG), Marcus Morris (SF/PF)

Key Subtractions

Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko

Projected Starters (Last year averages)

PG: Kyrie Irving (25 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast)

SG: Gordon Hayward (22 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast)

SF: Jaylen Brown (7 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast)

PF: Al Horford (14 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast)

C: Aron Baynes (5 pts, 4 reb)

Key Reserves

Marcus Morris (SF/PF), Marcus Smart (PG/SG), and Jayson Tatum (SF/PF)

Major Story lines

Kyrie Irving Trade – After seeming like they would never pull the trigger on a trade unless they could truly rob another franchise the Celtics finally did. There are people who question THIS being the deal that they needed to hold out for (Isaiah and Kyrie’s stats are almost identical) and they sent Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the valuable Nets pick with Isaiah to Cleveland. However, there are others who said that Kyrie is a Superstar where Isaiah is a notch below. Regardless, we will see if Kyrie can get this Celtics team over the hump.

Gordon Hayward Signing – Kyrie will not be alone on this mission however. Prior to the Kyrie trade the Celtics were able to lure Gordon Hayward to come East. Gordon was torn between his unfinished business in Utah and his unfinished business with Brad Stevens, his college coach at Butler. In the end he chose Stevens. The memory of the missed half-court shot that would have won them an NCAA title was just too powerful. Now, with Kyrie in place these two will try to get to the mountaintop together.

NBA: Summer League-Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

Mike Predictions (57 – 25) (2nd in the East)

  • Step Backwards: I did my record predictions before I actually sat down and looked at the individual teams but I forgot how many guys this team really lost. I don’t think they’re as good as they were a year ago though they still win 57 games.
  • Kyrie and Gordo Flourish: With that said I do think Kyrie and Gordon Hayward are in their optimal roles. Kyrie wants to be the man and Gordon does not. Kyrie will be allowed to lead the team but he’ll have a very willing sidekick in Hayward. These two will need to do a lot of scoring this season and I expect they will do so.
  • Major contributions from rookies: Based on their roster I expect that we will get to see a lot of Jayson Tatum in a key role off the bench. He’ll be in prime 6th man position and may actually make a case for the title. Daniel Theis is also a sleeper to step into that Olynyk/Jerebko lane.

Josh Predictions (58 – 24) (2nd in the East)

  • Tatum contributes early and often: For a team that has made trades with expectations to win now, having a rookie be a key contributor isn’t necessarily ideal. That being said, I think Tatum has the offensive skills necessary to help Boston put up points in crunch time situations — maybe even becoming the 3rd scoring options. I also think Horford gets moved to Center and Tatum eventually starts, leading him to an All-Rookie 1st Team selection.
  • Boston wins the regular season matchup with the Cavs: Obviously regular season wins don’t mean much without postseason success. But, I do think Boston wins at least 2 of their 3 regular season games against Cleveland this year. All 3 games happen before the All-Star break, which is how long the Cavs will reportedly have to wait to get Isaiah Thomas back. Also, I think Kyrie is good enough to lead a team and will be extra motivated any time he plays Lebron.

 

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