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Scouting the Enemy: Boston Celtics

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Coming off a dramatic season that fell short of expectations, the Boston Celtics revamped their roster to try and take back the throne in the Eastern Conference

Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game Two Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be “scouting the enemy,” as we’ll be covering the outlook for the 29 other teams in the league ahead of the 2019-2020 season.

BOSTON CELTICS

Former Grizzlies: NONE

Offseason in Review

The Boston Celtics were among the many teams that were wrapped up in what was one of the craziest off-seasons in recent memory. They now look a little different with two major players no longer being on the roster.

As we all remember, Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics had a bitter divorce as last season ended. Kyrie seemingly divided the locker room with his comments and antics all season long. The two parties separated and now he has moved down the East Coast a bit playing for the Brooklyn Nets.

No matter what you think of the guy, Irving is a great NBA talent. He has the raw ability that will be very much misses this coming season for the Celtics. However, they did make a huge off-season splash by bringing on new point guard Kemba Walker.

Walker epitomizes what it means to be a leader in the NBA. Players rave about his mindset and will to win without being the flashy guy who wants the continuous spotlight on him. It is the reason he has won and always ranks at the top of best teammate award voted on by other NBA players. These are all qualities that the point guard of old did not possess with the Celtics. With this new free agent signing, it will be a changing of the times which will bring relief to other hopeful superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. These three, plus Marcus Smart, are already getting their chemistry and reps in playing for Team USA this summer.

Outside of Kyrie Irving leaving, the Celtics had another key player depart that will be missed more than perhaps anyone else. Al Horford left Boston to sign with division rivals Philadelphia 76ers. Al Horford was the glue that held everything together. He did it all for this Celtics team and patched up a lot of glaring holes they could of had on both sides of the court.

The Celtics looked to fill this void with center Enes Kanter. He propelled back on to the scene last year in the playoffs as he was putting up 20 and 10s with consistency. This surge in the playoffs by Kanter will be put to the test real quick playing for Boston. They have concerns with their interior defense, and it may be wishful thinking that Kanter is the player to fix it. The first game for the Celtics will be a great indication as they go on the road to face the Sixers with Embiid and Horford in the paint. This will be a force to be reckoned with in their division.

Boston Celtics Introduce Kemba Walker Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The other notable off-season moves were losing Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes during the off-season. Marcus Morris played much better than expected last season and was an unsung hero on last year’s roster. Aron Baynes was traded during the NBA Draft to the Phoenix Suns. Again, his interior presence will be missed on this team.

The Draft additions that the Celtics brought on were Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, and Carsen Edwards. These three will get some early minutes on the big stage and look ready to handle the Boston spotlight. It will be exciting what they can bring in their rookie seasons.

It was a very busy and hectic off-season for the C’s. On paper, the roster took a small step back, but does the departure of Kyrie Irving and, more importantly, addition of Kemba Walker bring a new winning mentality to this team?

TEAM OUTLOOK

As mentioned, the Association was turned on its head and spun around this off-season. Seemingly everyone is on different teams, and no one has really had a chance to see the aftermath of all this. What is known is that the Eastern Conference lost one of their best players with Kawhi Leonard going to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Raptors won the Conference last year, and their biggest star is now no longer there. It seems to be open for someone to take the throne.

What does that mean for the Celtics? Well, there is still some very stout competition in the East. The regular season champions Milwaukee Bucks are running it back with a very similar squad and of course the league MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, leading them. The Sixers, as mentioned, strengthened their team bringing on Al Horford and Josh Richardson and signing extensions for Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. This is all while the Raptors and Indiana Pacers will be right there chomping at the bit.

The road for the Celtics is not easy, but it is doable. Kemba Walker can bring this team together that desperately needed it last season. These young guys are still finding their way to play with one another. This, with another year of recovery for Gordon Hayward, and the sky is the limit for this team.

2019 USA Basketball Men’s National Team - Portraits Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The biggest question mark will be on the defensive side of the ball, mainly in the interior. Will Enes Kanter be able to hold his own down there or in any type of isolation? They will have other bodies such as Daniel Theis, Robert Williams III, and new acquisition Vincent Poirer, but that may not be enough. If they can solve this then their prospect of winning the conference will rise exponentially.

Bottom line for the Boston Celtics this season will be about how it is a refreshing new outlook that is not clouded by negativity bringing the team down. There was always a storyline or rumor that was non-basketball related about Kyrie Irving and the team. Without this, they will be able to compete and go back to just having fun playing basketball. Right now, they are getting reps with Team USA, and then they will be ready to translate that right into the regular season.

Hopes should be high for the Celtics team and fanbase.