ESPN's John Hollinger predicts the Celtics to finish third in the east. I guess I'm just rounding up all of the "expert" picks. He doesn't necessarily say the Celtics are just looking towards the future. You can get the impression from the players that they are prepping for one last run at a championship. However, he does bring up that after this year only two players should be under contract for the Celtics and they will have two picks in the first round. I don't think most Celtics fans care where Hollinger thinks they will finish, but that last tidbit is something to note.

This excerpt comes from the ESPN Boston Celtics blog:

Boston Celtics (43-23)

It's amusing that the same Celtics fans who wanted Jeff Green tarred and feathered last spring now think they're hosed because he's out for the season. It's a loss, but he's a backup small forward and they can do other things with their lineups to mostly cover his absence. As long as they can avoid playing Sasha Pavlovic in an actual game, they'll be fine.

The more worrying problem for Boston is the grueling nature of the schedule, which will be magnified for the Celtics because of their age and mediocre bench. The theft of Brandon Bass from Orlando should help, and I suspect they'll get a lot more from Jermaine O'Neal than they did last season. Still, this team tied for 17th in offensive efficiency in 2010-11 and should be mediocre again; Boston is counting on its defense being at or near the top of the league to keep it in contention.

Perhaps it will be, but the combination of age, schedule and coaching staff defections (Tom Thibodeau left two years ago and Lawrence Frank this past offseason) might cause some slippage. All of Boston's bench players are good defenders except offseason pickup Chris Wilcox, but the C's still will have great difficulty retaining their No. 2 ranking in defensive efficiency.

Here's one other bummer for Boston: There are no games before Christmas this year. Over the past four seasons, the Celtics were a ridiculous 94-14 (.870) before Santa's arrival and a much more pedestrian 140-80 (.636) afterward.

In the big picture, the Celtics shape up for this season as Mavericks East: They're a Tier B contender, but rather than ride their veterans slowly down the tubes, they've built around short-term contracts and given themselves an opportunity to completely reshape the roster after the season. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are the only rotation players with contracts for next year, presuming Bass opts out, and Boston will have more than $20 million in cap space and two first-round picks next summer.

Michael Saver 12/21/2011 01:28:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. Beantown says:

    "It's amusing that the same Celtics fans who wanted Jeff Green tarred and feathered last spring now think they're hosed because he's out for the season."

    The level of smugness and arrogance in this sentence is a little disturbing. I know he works for ESPN and they're great and painting broad strokes, but it is moronic to compare the loss of Green to people criticizing the Perkins trade. Perkins' trade out of Boston was unpopular, but Green also was supposed to play an important role for the C's this year. Both of those things are true.

    Anyways, besides the first year the big 3 had together, nobody has ever picked the Celtics to do anything. Even in 2010 when the finals was hijacked by Joey Crawford and co., people were trashing them all year and said they couldn't turn it on for the playoffs and they still did. This 66 game season isn't a "shortened" season like they make it seem, it's more of a "compacted" season than anything. There's too many things that can happen to count any of the top 5 teams out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Again with these stupid posts, let their playing do the talking, predictions are predictions, enough of the bs predictions by these so called experts, im tired of the doubters out there.

  3. DH says:

    "As long as they can avoid playing Sasha Pavlovic in an actual game, they'll be fine." Wow, I mean I know most of us are not too keen on Sasha taking over Jeff Green's role, but that is sort of messed up for him to say that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with anonymous above me. You people keep counting the celtics out so early. How do you know if their not more hungry to win the championship this year then other teams?

  5. Not counting them out but the prediction above is spot on and they are paid to say their opinions. I have nothing wrong with what is being said.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I just hope we can be a good home court advantage over the Heat. I want to
    Celtics to eliminate the Heat. As long as we are healthy, we can do anything!

  7. The Coach says:

    I'd like to publicly debate Hollinger on national TV at halftime of the game on Christmas on things basketball and then beat his ass with no fouls being called on the floor at MSG. Can't stand these talking heads who know less basketball than I have forgotten. Guy is on ESPN because he invented a formula. Beyond infuriating. Time for a holiday Guinness. But I must say, as a life long fan, and for those on this site that know how into it I get, I am not feeling all too good about this season. Our front line must control the boards, must defend and score a whole lot more than the 2nd half of last season. Already nervous about Pierce injury, as I said, time for a Guinness.

  8. Anonymous says:

    With the compacted season idk if this predictions accurate or not but i try to read everything of hollinger's and he is just a complete dumbass i mean the man knows NOTHING about the game. he's a kobe bryant and lebron james band waggon and last year not too long after the playoffs started he switched from kobe to dirk. he's just making a complete ass of himself day in and day out c'mon!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Doc sed he likes the bench this year

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