ESPN forecast predicts the Celtics to finish tied for 2nd in the East

Each year, a panel of writers at ESPN attempts to predict the records of each NBA team in a 1-15 (East and West) format. This year, your Boston Celtics are predicted to tie for second place with the Toronto Raptors with a 51-31 record, improving from last season's 48-34.

It seems they feel that 51 wins might even be conservative considering the addition of Horford. An NBA season can be hard to predict with all of the injuries and trades that are bound to happen, but under Brad Stevens, the team has been trending the right direction. In each of Coach Stevens' first three seasons, the team's record has improved (25-57, 40-42, 48-34).

One thing is for sure, unlike the the first two seasons of the Stevens Era where Boston had no expectations, and last year where the team exceeded regular season expectations by many accounts (thank you Isaiah Thomas), the Celtics are no longer sneaking up on any team. After hovering around 3rd place in the East for much of 2015-16 and adding another all-star into the mix, other teams will be anticipating a tough opponent each and every night.

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta - USA Today Sports

Follow Nolan on Twitter @NolanChuck