Five Bold Predictions for the 2019-2020 Boston Celtics

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The Boston Celtics can officially close the book on a disappointing 2018-19 season tonight, when they open up their season against the Philadelphia 76ers.  There is a lot of excitement, anticipation and uncertainty surrounding the team this season, but it is a long, and grueling season.  Just like everybody else likes to do, I took the time to make some predictions as to what will happen over the course of those 82 games.

via Getty Images


The Celtics Will Win 50+ Games


Last year's Boston Celtics won 49 games, and despite the departure of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, I expect them to eclipse that mark this year.  Their over/under win total is set at 48.5.  Boston has won 48 games or more the past four seasons, including back to back seasons of 50+ wins in 2016-17, and 2017-18.

Brad Stevens has been at his best when he has a roster full of guys who have something to prove.  His ability to maximize effort has led to inflated win totals over the years.  An 82-game season can be a drag, but whether it's opening night, or a Wednesday night in the middle of January, Stevens is able to get his team to play hard.

While this year's team has more talent than some of those scrappy, underdog-laden teams, there are guys on this team with things to prove, Stevens included; especially after the way last year ended.  This team may not do better than the second round exit they suffered last season, but they will be infinitely more enjoyable to watch, and easier to root for. 

Shop for official Boston Celtics team gear and authentic collectibles at NBAStore.comKemba Walker and Jayson Tatum Will Average 20+ PPG

The Boston Celtics haven't had a pair of 20 PPG scorers since the days of Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker.  Kyrie led the way the past two seasons with over 20 PPG, and Isaiah Thomas the two seasons prior.  However, they've yet to find that second scorer.  They thought Gordon Hayward would fill that void, until his leg did a 180 on opening night two seasons ago, and he spent all of last year working through that.

This year feels different.  Kemba Walker is coming off of a season in which he averaged a career-best 25.6 PPG.  He may not surpass that mark this year, but he will be Boston's number one option.  This is the year I expect Jayson Tatum to make the leap everybody anticipated from him last year.  He averaged over 15 a game last season, but people expected more - himself included; considering the way he performed during the playoffs as a rookie.

From watching the preseason, it appears he's made a concerted effort to reduce the number of mid-range jumpers; rather attacking the basket or hoisting a three.  Tatum is going to put the league on notice this year.

Marcus Smart Will Set a Career High in 3 Point Shooting

Smart did this last year, when he shot better than 36% from behind the arc.  After a rookie season in which he shot 33%, things went south.  For the next three seasons, Smart shot 30% or worse from three.  However, Smart broke through last year, making a career-best 126 three-pointers; third most on the team. 

What changed for the better last year was his shot selection.  His overall shot attempts per game actually decreased.  He appeared in 26 more games last year, compared to 2017-18, but only attempted 52 more shots; illustrating his improved discipline.  He also made 50 more attempts.

Smart still takes some shots that make you cringe, but it has improved markedly, and so has his ability to knock them down.  He made five of his 12 attempts in the preseason.  A small sample size, but you can tell he continues to work on his shot, and shoots with confidence.  I'm not saying he'll shoot 40%, but I expect another bump.

Robert Williams Will Block 100 Shots 

As a rookie, Williams struggled to find minutes last season.  He appeared in just 32 games, averaging less than nine minutes per game.  However, he recorded at least one blocked shot in more than half of those games, and multiple blocks in 12 games; including two games in which he blocked five shots. 

His athleticism allows him to recover and block shots, even when he's beaten.  He also has great instincts, and just feels like a natural shot blocker.  With the center depth what it is, there figures to be plenty more opportunities for Williams this season. 

Carsen Edwards Scores 30 Points In a Game

Am I foolishly buying into the preseason hype?  Maybe.  However, there's no denying Edwards can shoot.  While rookies don't always get a ton of play from Brad Stevens, Edwards' ability to shoot may not give Stevens a choice.  It may not come in a meaningful game, or against a marquee opponent, but over the course of 82 games, Edwards will get his shots.  He won't be afraid to take them, and if he hits a couple, watch out.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Five Bold Predictions for the 2019-2020 Boston Celtics
Five Bold Predictions for the 2019-2020 Boston Celtics
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