What will the Boston Celtics’ record be in 2016–2017?
Are the Celtics set to surpass their ‘15-’16 win total?
The annual Boston Celtics Summer Forecast has arrived. Around this time for the past few years, ESPN’s Chris Forsberg asks a panel of writers from some of the beloved Celtics websites a series of questions about Boston’s upcoming season.
In my attempt to survive the lack of NBA and Celtics news right now, I thought I’d participate in this exercise. First, question: How many games will the Celtics win next season?
Last offseason, I pegged Boston to win 44 games and they surpassed that. Head coach Brad Stevens has taken the Celtics from 25 to 40 to 48 wins. So what’s next? Well, if you guessed more wins then you’re (likely) correct!
The Celtics lost Jared Sullinger to division rival Toronto Raptors and Evan Turner to the Portland Trailblazers. Losing both of those valuable rotations players hurts. Boston has the guard depth to survive losing Turner and upgraded from Sullinger to All-Star Al Horford. The team also has two replacements in Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier to take over Turner’s ball-handling duties. While Horford is not the rebounder that Sullinger is, he’s the versatile floor-spacing big man that the Boston hoped Sully would morph into.
Boston added more than just Horford. The Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown with the third pick overall pick. Brown is cut from the same cloth as most of Boston’s roster: a hardworking, defensive-minded, freak athlete with a positive attitude. Assuming he makes the roster, Gerald Green could be another one of Brad Stevens’ reclamation projects, a la Eastern Conference Player of the Week Jordan Crawford.
Based on these improvements it’s hard to believe the Celtics won’t surpass their 2015–2016 win total, but by how much? I have Boston going 53–29 in ‘16-’17. Until Jae Crowder’s untimely high ankle sprain late in the season, the Celtics looked like they could crack the 50-win mark. Barring any significant injuries, I believe the Celtics will exceed 50 wins for the first time since the 2010–11 season.