2017-18 Boston Celtics Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
The Boston Celtics were mad as heck and they weren't going to take it anymore. They had improved significantly, hired the second-best coach in the game, and were easily the second-best team in the conference. The gap between them and Cleveland was still significant, though, and it wasn't going to shrink unless they got radical or LeBron James moved to the West. The latter might happen, but not for another year. So they took the former approach. After initially failing to land Jimmy Butler or Paul George and looking like Danny Ainge was going to flop on the market again, the team landed free agent gem Gordon Hayward and then pulled off a mega-trade to bring Kyrie Irving into town. Add in some other changes and you have a very overhauled, and seemingly quite improved, team that's potentially ready to give Cleveland a run for their money. But will it work?
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2017 Boston Celtics Betting Storylines
In a move that will be debated heavily - and already has - the Celtics paid a heavy price, including trading away their all-star point guard - to bring in someone else's all-star point guard. Irving is younger than Isaiah Thomas, more experienced in the postseason, and, not insignificantly, taller. Thomas was a rock star in Boston, and you can't question his guts after playing right after the death of his sister, but even without the concerns about Thomas' hip this is a trade that Boston had to make, and it makes them better.
Chemistry is an overused word in sports, but with this many changes to a team it has to be a real consideration here. With Thomas and so many others gone, and with big contracts and big egos coming into town, the team has a lot of work ahead of them to figure out who is in charge and how people fit together. Last year it took Golden State quite a while to find the best version of themselves, and you could argue that it won't be until this year that we truly see that. We can expect the same here. On paper the big pieces fit together well, but I can't think of two guys who are much more different than Irving and Hayward, so there could be some growing pains. Irving is so desperate to be out of the shadow of James that he talked himself out of another all but sure trip to the NBA Finals, so his ability to play well with others has to be questioned. They have all the pieces - top-level talent, intriguing depth, a couple of young future stars, and great coaching. They certainly can at least challenge Cleveland, and it's not impossible to imagine them beating the Cavs. But that will only happen if things come together quickly and continue to improve as the season goes along.
2017 Boston Celtics Additions and Departures
The Celtics had the top pick in last year's draft in a trade with Brooklyn, but a couple of days before the draft they traded it to Philadelphia in exchange for the third pick and a first-rounder next year or in 2019. They chose Jayson Tatum with that pick. That was one of three trades they made. Early in July they sent Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris. And then the big one in late August - bringing in Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-rounder from Brooklyn.
Free agency was just as active as the trade market. Some key pieces were allowed to walk. Kelly Olynyk went to Miami. Jonas Jerebko is in Utah. Amir Johnson joined Philadelphia. Tyler Zeller is in Brooklyn. Gerald Green is trying to make it in Milwaukee. With so many guys gone, there had to be a flow of new blood, too. Hayward was obviously the highlight, signing a giant four-year deal. Daniel Theis, a 25-year-old star big man of the German league, has been signed. Aron Baynes joined from Detroit. Barry Larkin's son Shane joined on a cheap deal after a year in Europe. And Guerschon Yabusele, who the team drafted in the first round in 2016, and who played in China and in Maine with the NBA D-League last year, has been signed. Obviously with the big contracts for Hayward and Irving joining Al Horford's big haul, the priority on this offseason was bargain hunting for low-cost, high-impact players to fill the supporting roles.
2017 Boston Celtics Futures Odds and Trends
Boston Celtics Futures Odds
NBA title odds (from BetOnline ) : +800
Eastern Conference title odds : +220
Kyrie Irving MVP Odds (from Bovada ) : +1200
Gordon Hayward MVP Odds : +10000
Jayson Tatum ROY Odds : +1200
Season win total (from BetOnline): 53.5 ("over" is favored at -120)
The team was incredibly balanced from a betting perspective last year - they were 40-40-2 ATS, and went 39-39-4 against the total.
2017 Boston Celtics Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I'm optimistic. I like the moves. I like that Hayward will be very comfortable with Brad Stevens after their time together in college. I like Irving's desire to be his own man. I like the versatility of the roster and some of the intriguing pieces they have added. I really like Tatum. But what does it all mean? I still don't know if they are going to rebound any better than they did last year, and that's a concern. They still don't have a player anywhere near as good as LeBron, and that's a concern. And they might take a while to learn how to play together. But they will win their division in their sleep. I think they will win more than 54 games, so the over is very attractive on the season win total. And they will at least make things uncomfortable for Cleveland in the playoffs. They are no worse than the second-best team in the East, and hopefully by Christmas time we'll have more of a sense of it than that.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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