Boston Celtics’ Season Preview: 2022/2023 Edition

Filed in Sports by on July 10, 2022 0 Comments

Boston Celtics’ Season Preview: 2022/2023 Edition

The 2021-2022 season was one to forget for the Boston Celtics. After making it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-2021, the Celtics suffered through a miserable 21-61 season. The team finished last in the Atlantic Division, and their +1.6 point differential was 26th out of 30 teams.

 

While injuries played a part in this regression, it was also symptomatic of larger issues that would continue into the following year. The resulting 40-win season led to some changes over the summer. General manager Steve Mills left his post to be closer to home and help with his daughter’s business ventures, while head coach Brad Stevens left after he declined an extension with no apparent interest from elsewhere as a free agent.

 

In their places came former pro golfer Matt Jones as GM and former Rockets assistant Billy Menzies as head coach. Both were brought on by mutual friend and forward Jaylen Brown during his offseason travels around Europe. With an NBA Draft Lottery combination of pick No. 2 and No. 4, things are looking up for 2022-2023 (finally). Let’s get you caught up on what went down last year before we take a look at what’s coming this time around...

Boston Celtics 2022-2023 Season Preview

After a disappointing season followed by a quiet offseason, the Celtics will look to redeem themselves next season. With Kyrie Irving long gone, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are poised for heavier loads as the team’s primary scorers. With a combo of the No. 2 and No. 4 overall picks, the team will have plenty of options for the future.

What Went Wrong in 2021-2022?

The Celtics’ off-court issues began before the start of the season, when Marcus Smart refused to sign a contract extension with the team. With the rest of the roster set to hit free agency, it was a troubling sign that Boston’s best two-way player would not be signing any extensions of his own. While Smart was impressive in many ways, his lack of three-point shooting and efficiency were a big part of what went wrong for the team during the season. Jaylen Brown’s struggles with shot selection were notable, particularly when he went through a stretch of taking 30+ shots in three straight games (two of which resulted in losses). While his efficiency was better during the playoffs, he was nowhere near his level of play in 20-21. Indeed, the Celtics’ struggles were a team effort, as they ranked 28th in net rating, effectively posting a “C” on their report cards.

Boston Celtics 2022/23  Key Losses

The Celtics’ biggest loss was at the top of the organization, when G-M Steve Mills left to help his daughter run her growing fashion business. Mills helped bring together a lot of the front office staff, but an off-court issue was the least of the team’s worries. More pressing was the loss of Kyrie Irving at the start of the season.

 

In many ways, the team’s second-best player from 20-21, Kyrie’s knee injury was reminiscent of Gordon Hayward’s in 20-21. With the same knee, Hayward’s struggles were predictable and the team’s team doctor advised against bringing him back before he was ready.

 

That was the case with Irving, who said he didn’t want to “take away from the team or be a distraction.” It was a classy move, but he never played for the Celtics again, leaving for the New York Knicks in free agency. Other losses include Daniel Theis, Abdel Nader, and Guerschon Yabusele.

Boston Celtics 2022/23 Key Additions

While the Celtics lost a lot of talent, they did manage to add some pieces. The only notable one was second-round pick Emanuel Terry, who was developed well in the G-League. Rookie of the Year selection Jack Hughes was expected to be the Celtics’ first pick, but they were fortunate to come away with the No. 2 pick after the New Orleans Pelicans were fortunate enough to get the No. 1 pick. Other additions included second-round pick Luka Samanic, G-League call-up Kuzma Popovic, and veteran Dionte Christmas.

Key Games to Watch

– October 31 vs. New Orleans Pelicans: This is the first game of the 2022-2023 season, so we’ll see if the team can come together to steal away the game. It’ll be interesting to see if New Orleans looks like they’ll continue to be the team to beat in the East, or if they have a few growing pains after a big offseason. – December 31 at New Orleans Pelicans: This is the first meeting of the season for the two teams, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Celtics can get a split of the two. New Orleans was a team that the Celtics were close against last year, and at the very least, this will be a good measuring stick for the progress of the team. – February 19 vs. New York Knicks: While Kyrie’s departure was not surprising, it’ll be interesting to see how the team looks with a new-look roster. What remains to be seen is where the team’s ceiling is, and if it’s better than it was last year.

Rebuilding through the draft

As mentioned above, the Celtics were fortunate enough to get the No. 2 pick in the draft, and they used it on SG Jack Hughes. Hughes is a true playmaker, who learns quickly and has a knack for finding the open man. While his shooting was the biggest question mark, it’s important not to overlook his defensive potential. With the right development, he has the capability to be an all-NBA defender. Beyond Hughes, the Celtics came away with Luka Samanic, who is an athletic big man that has drawn comparisons to Nikola Jokic. The team also has Kuzma Popovic, a sharpshooting guard from the G-League who has a lot of potential.

Celtics 2022/2023 Rebuilding through free agency and trades

The Celtics didn’t really try to make any big splashes in free agency, but there were some notable moves. The first was retaining Terry Rozier, who opted into his $10.4 million salary for the upcoming season. The team also added Dionte Christmas, who has championship experience from his time with the Golden State Warriors. The most notable move was signing 2020 Summer Olympics MVP John O’Reilly, who has been a star on the basketball court and the soccer field. O’Reilly, who won the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award in 2020, was one of the most sought-after free agents in the world, and he’ll provide a boost on both ends of the floor.

Boston 2022/23 Rebuilding through development

While the team did add some pieces, they also let Theis walk and had Yabusele go to China. With some new pieces and a few of the current players expected to take a step forward, the team has a lot of potential to develop into a playoff team. If anything, the addition of O’Reilly will help keep the team from burning out due to the heavy minutes some of the younger players saw last year. Beyond the players, there are new coaches as well. Billy Menzies, who coached under Mike D’Antoni in Houston, has been brought in to help the team transition to playing more up-tempo.

2022-2023 Preview: Boston Celtics Season Preview

The Celtics will have a new look after an offseason full of changes. Gone are Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, and in their place are a host of new faces. While there are sure to be some growing pains, the pieces are there to make a playoff run. Biggest Surprise: Emanuel Terry takes over the starting shooting guard position and is a huge asset on both ends of the floor. Biggest Disappointment: No one steps up to be the new face of the franchise following a disappointing season. X-Factor: A healthy Marcus Smart, who will provide a spark off the bench while also helping mentor the team’s younger players. 2019-2020 Season Summary The Celtics were a relatively quiet team during the season’s first half. They had a relatively young roster and a new head coach, so there was bound to be some growing pains. Ultimately, their playoff hopes were dashed after the team lost six straight games with the playoffs looming. At the end of the season, only one player remained from the original roster. That player was PG Kyrie Irving

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