ESPN Insider projects Celtics as 4th-best team in NBA using "real plus-minus"

With analytics and stats taking over the NBA, ESPN's newest Insider information projects the Celtics as the 4th best team in the NBA using their real plus-minus statistics. Via Kevin Pelton of

RPM was developed by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi to estimate a player's on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. RPM takes into account teammates, opponents and additional factors. When used along with playing time projections, it's proved to be a very accurate predictive tool overall.

2. Boston Celtics
Projected wins: 49.8

Last year, RPM nailed the Celtics' 48-win finish, though the Raptors jumped ahead of Boston to take second in the East. Now, RPM sees the Celtics taking a modest step forward with the addition of Al Horford.

The Celtics are ranked as the second best team in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland and are only behind the Warriors and Spurs in Western Conference. It's interesting to see the Celtics as the second best in the Eastern Conference, even passing the Toronto Raptors. Since the real plus-minus statistics measure players impact, it surely means that the addition of Al Horford as pushed the Celtics to new heights.

That along with the improved and elevated play of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Amir Johnson, and the promising futures of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown has definitely caught the attention of all around the league. This team is full of impactful players on both the offensive and defensive ends. With the addition of Al Horford, one of the best All-Around Centers in the NBA, the Cs can only get better.

Time will tell if the fourth best ranking will serve to be true. Being ranked ahead teams like the Raptors, Clippers, Thunder, and being on par with the Spurs is a boost of confidence for the Celtics and shows they're trending upwards. Can't wait to see the team in action to fulfill these statistical projections.

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