As the Boston Celtics open the 2019-20 season, they enter the next era of their franchise. The last was defined off the court by trade prospects and high draft picks acquired from the greatest fleece in NBA trade history from Brooklyn, and on the court by hardcore defense. This year brings us the final result of that off the court movement. While the Celtics won’t line up any of the marquee names that were often linked to Boston in trade rumors over the past few seasons, they are in for a very successful regular season.
Over the course of the summer, the Celtics watched their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford leave for the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers respectively. In doing so, they opened up cap space to sign Kemba Walker, an All Star who should fit into the roster seamlessly to a four-year, $141M deal.
His time on Team USA with three other Celtics players (Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart) already began that transition, and gave fans a great deal of hope about the season to come. In losing Kyrie to the Nets, the Celtics have essentially traded the point guard in exchange for team chemistry and their coach back.
For years, the Celtics have been defined by their hound dog defense. They have been a perennial top ten defensive team built around the likes of Horford, with players like Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett before him.
Essentially trading in Horford and Aaron Baynes for Enes Kanter will almost certainly change all that. The Celtics may very well turn into more of a seven-second offense, run-and-gun type of team. They will be built around scoring a lot, moving the ball quickly, taking long-range shots, and rebounding on the offensive end. Their defense will not be what it once was, but their offense will be potent.
In an Eastern Conference that has changed drastically since last season, the Toronto Raptors their best player in Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Milwaukee Bucks watched Malcolm Brogdon sign with the Indiana Pacers, and the Philadelphia 76ers lost their best closer in Jimmy Butler.
If the Celtics adopt this new run-and-gun style of play, it could be difficult for Eastern Conference contenders to keep up with them. This will end in a regular season success, with the Celtics topping last year’s record of 49-33. Is this a team that can be successful in the postseason, and if they can make it out of the Eastern Conference, how will they fair against the best of the West?
As the season plays out, we’ll know more about this team and the direction they’ll take. Will they try to force Walker and Kanter into the defensive style of play they’ve become known for, or will Stevens adopt a style that plays to their strengths? Will Gordon Heyward return to the level of play fans expected prior to his injury? Boston fans are in for an exciting season, as we wait to find the answers to these questions.
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