Celtics’ Offseason Coming to a Close
Over the summer, the Celtics acquired former Atlanta Hawks power forward/center Al Horford via free agency. This brought mixed reactions from fans, some saying he won’t be able to help the team because he is not that good and that he was being overpaid, while others believe he will be a strong addition to the team. For the first time in his career, he played all 82 games last season, finishing with 15.2 points per game, 3.2 assists per game while shooting 50.5% from the field. Personally, I am a big believer in Horford and believe he is a great player for the team.
With the signing of Al Horford, there could possibly be a change up at the position of center with the injury of Celtics Center Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk was drafted 13th overall in 2013 by the Dallas Mavericks and was immediately traded over to the Celtics and he’s been with the Celtics ever since. Unfortunately, Olynyk is coming off of a shoulder injury that required surgery. The time table for his return after the surgery is 5 months and that has cut into his training camp time already. Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely said that his recovery “could spill over into the regular season.” It’s also important to note that according to the same source “…Olynyk is very much a player to keep an eye on in terms of trade possibilities.”Olynyk last year played in 69 games, scored 10 PPG,had a total rebound percentage (TRB) of 4.1, and averaged 5 blocks per game (BPG).
There was also another big piece of news that happened over the summer that angered many fans of the NBA, especially those in Oklahoma and Boston. If you couldn’t guess it by now, I’m talking about none other than one of the best small forwards in the league, Kevin Durant. Durant chose to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder after 8 years to go to the Golden State Warriors, the same team that beat Durant and the Thunder. In the Western Conference Finals. Durant told the Thunder he wanted to leave during the early parts of the summer, and spent most of the off season meeting with other teams to see what they could offer him.
One of the few teams Durant did decide met with was the Celtics. Boston tried to bring their best players from each team, but not all could go. Patriots quarterback and future hall of famer Tom Brady was in attendance and who better to represent the culture of the “City of Champions”.Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas was there to show him how he could be part of the Celtics winning culture. Red Sox superstar David Ortiz sent out a tweet saying he couldn’t make it because he was busy trying to win another ring and further cement Boston as the “City of Champions”. As you can probably tell, the Celtics put in a lot of effort to try and come here, including telling Durant how the Celtics plan on beating the Warriors, but this isn’t the time or place for me to vent on that. We’ll save that for later.
There was also talk over the summer of trading small forward Jae Crowder in exchange for power forward Blake Griffin from the LA Clippers. This possible trade was a big deal for many Celtics fans, but unfortunately that deal didn’t end up working out either. There was other speculation of “big trades” that the Celtics were involved in throughout the summer but none of those panned out either.
Now trades and deals aside, the Celtics seem like they are all set to make a serious run and hope to improve on last season. They still have their All-Star Point Guard Isaiah Thomas who last year seemed to be making impressive shots averaging 22.2 PPG, Shooting Guard Avery Bradley who can play on both sides of the court, averaged 15 PPG, Small Forward and talented defender Jae Crowder who averaged 1.7 steals PPG, and all-around center Al Horford who averaged 15.2 PPG on 50.5% shooting from the field while grabbing 7.3 TRB.
With those five players in the starting lineup and Olynyk set to come back a few weeks into the season, the Celtics seem ready to make a run for the Finals.