The first couple days of camp are when you typically hear the most positive quotes, but I'm going to be honest, I agree with Kemba here. And that's no disrespect to Gordon Hayward. I think he will have a great season in Charlotte and people will wonder why he didn't play like that in Boston. But Hayward only really returned from his horrific injury this past season, and Hayward had a very good year. This despite being unselfish and taking a lesser role with the team than he signed up for or was accustomed to. Obviously in the most recent playoff run Hayward barely played, so just adding Thompson to that team is going to be an improvement.
I need to wait and see how Teague does in a reserve role once Kemba comes back before declaring for sure the current version of Teague is an improvement over the underrated Wanamaker, Adding Nesmith and Pritchard also gives the Celtics more weapons. And there's no reason to believe that Robert and Grant Williams won't improve in their 3rd and 2nd seasons respectively.
But if you really want to know why this year's team should be better its that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown just keep getting better. If you're best players keep improving the odds of your team getting better are pretty high. This is one of the benefits of having young stars.
I don't care at all how many games Walker misses to start the season or minutes he plays. Also don't care if he gets some maintenance games off. All reports are that Kemba is his worst enemy when it comes to playing through injuries, so put the man in bubble wrap this season and unleash him for the playoffs. And yes a Kemba Walker that looks a lot more like the first half of last season version over this recent playoff version will improve this team.
One issue is that several other contenders also improved. So adding Tristan and the rooks to last year's team (including Hayward) would have been the most ideal scenario. That said, Ainge could still make a trade at the deadline to shore up the rotation. The Celtics aren't the favorites to win it all this year, but they have a shot at least and they have better depth than last year's version. The key is how far their young stars will take them and most importantly health.