2018 Boston Celtics Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Boston Celtics basically didn't do any roster moves of note this offseason. They took care of Marcus Smart's contract, which was the highlight, but mostly they stood pat. Yet they are going to be one of the more changed contenders in the league. Kyrie Irving is healthy and should be able to play more than the 60 games he played last year. And, more significantly, Gordon Hayward is healthy and should be able to play more than the handful of minutes he managed before being injured last season. The team made a huge splash last year to be the Eastern team that could challenge the Warriors in the finals. But they didn't know how patient they would have to be for that investment to pay off. It took a year longer than many would have guessed, but here we are.
It is going to be fascinating to see what Gordon Hayward can do this season. He had improved in each of his seven years in Utah and was one of the least-celebrated superstars in the league - both because of where he played and because he looks like he is seven years old. He was going to be no worse than the second-best player on this team last year, but that was before the kind of injury that can give viewers lasting trauma ended his season after just five minutes of play. He's still young and still on a team that suits him very well. But how well can he come back mentally - and, of lesser concern, physically - from that heinous injury? Some guys can shake off things like that and move on. But others have been haunted by it for years to come. Boston is in the fortunate situation that they are so ridiculously deep that they don't need Hayward necessarily to be a top-level team. Young guys Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are ready for even bigger roles this year. But to go from very good to great the team needs Hayward to shine, and we won't know how likely that is to happen until the season starts rolling.
In Tatum and Brown, the Celtics knew that they had drafted good players, but in both cases I don't think they could have known that they were quite as good as they have been since they arrived in town. And since both are so young and still so early in their careers, they both still have plenty of room to grow. They could be scary-good this year. And that just sets up a strong year if they can take a step forward because the team has so much depth behind them. Terry Rozier is a top-level backup point guard. Marcus Smart can play multiple positions well. Marcus Morris has his role. Semi Ojeleye was solid as a rookie last year and has looked like he has taken a step forward over the summer and early fall. This is a rare team that has the depth to potentially contend with Golden State if they can stay healthy.
Let's talk about Brad Stevens a bit. I don't think I have to put a qualifier in any more - Stevens is just the best coach in the NBA. No one schemes better, overcomes disadvantages better, or exploits opposing weaknesses better. And he has a history with Hayward, so it will be fun to see what they can do now that they are together again. He is such a massive asset for this team.
2018 Boston Celtics Additions and Departures
There is not a whole lot to report in this section. They picked big man Robert Williams in the draft with the 27th pick. He gets compared to DeAndre Jordan a lot - and the fact they went to the same school makes that a little lazy but still relevant. He has had some off-court issues already with Boston, and is going to have to get his act together to fit into this system. But if he can grow up in a hurry then his size and athleticism could make him a real steal where he was drafted.
Aside from that, the changes were few. Perhaps the most interesting addition was Brad Wanamaker. The guard was a star at Pitt until 2011 but wasn't drafted and has bounced around Europe since. He is coming off two very strong years in Turkey and comes here as a low-risk bench option that could have some real upside.
2018 Boston Celtics Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +500
Eastern Conference title odds : -110
Kyrie Irving MVP Odds : +1600
Gordon Hayward MVP Odds : +15000
Jayson Tatum MVP Odds : +15000
Robert Williams ROY Odds: +6600
Season win total: 58
At 62-37-2 ATS last season including the playoffs, the Celtics were the most profitable betting team in the league last year. They went "over" the total 52 times and "under" 46, so a small profit was available on the over as well.
2018 Boston Celtics Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I like this team a lot. It's hard not to. When I wrote the Philadelphia preview I picked the Sixers to win the East. And I still think that. But the margin between them and this team - and Toronto - is very small. The coaching here is excellent, the talent is deep, and the attitude is really good. I would happily take the over on the win total and expect them to play a lot of playoff games.
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