The Boston Celtics had an incredible turnaround season last year. After struggling for the first half of the season, the Celtics changed their approach and reached the NBA Finals. Even though they lost to the Warriors, the Celtics reloaded their roster in what could be considered a perfect offseason for them. They filled a key roster need by adding Malcolm Brogdon. They also added an important role player in Danilo Gallinari.
The Celtics were considered one of the favorites to win the championship this season. However, their luck has recently changed, and things have started to spiral out of control. Should they be worried about this season? Or will they be able to overcome the challenges they face? In this article, we will highlight some of the issues the Celtics are facing right now.
One thing that made Boston’s turnaround season so special last year was that it wasn’t just one or two players that made huge adjustments; the whole team adopted principles that helped them succeed in the long run. One of those principles was buying into Coach Ime Udoka’s defensive system. That helped transform the Boston Celtics into one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.
It is safe to say that two people who were key to Boston’s turnaround season were Ime Udoka and Robert Williams III. Udoka’s excellent coaching in his first season as head coach helped each Boston Celtics player thrive in their role. Williams was the defensive anchor. His size and elite rim protection caused opposing teams to have difficulty scoring on the Celtics unit.
Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics will be starting the season without either of them. Ime Udoka was suspended for the entire season, so the Celtics will have to continue what he started last season without his coaching presence this year. As for Robert Williams, he suffered a knee injury. Although he should return early in the NBA season, this is concerning news for a player who has had a rough history of injuries throughout his short career so far.
In addition to these losses, the Boston Celtics also lost Danilo Gallinari to injury for the year. He was supposed to add more shooting and depth to the roster, but now they will have to look for other options.
The reason these losses could be so drastic for the Boston Celtics is that there is really no room for anything but their best effort in a competitive Eastern Conference. Let’s briefly go over some of the other teams who will be competing for a championship in the East this season.
After a wild offseason of trade rumors, the Brooklyn Nets were able to keep Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together. While there are many question marks for this team, things have been looking promising recently. Ben Simmons seems willing to play any role that can help the Nets win, such as starting at center. While there will always be questions about Kyrie Irving’s availability, it is worth noting that this is a contract year for him. That will likely influence his willingness to be available this season.
The Miami Heat were just a few points away from eliminating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and advancing to the NBA Finals. The Heat are always competitive, and they won’t be going anywhere. Some factors that should worry other teams are the development of Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, as well as optimism that Victor Oladipo will be able to have a healthy season.
The Milwaukee Bucks won the 2021 NBA championship. If Khris Middleton were healthy in the playoffs last season, we could be talking about the Bucks as the reigning back-to-back champions. As Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to dominate, the Bucks become harder to beat, especially in a playoff series.
That is only a small sample of teams that are going to compete for the Eastern Conference title. The Boston Celtics need to solve some of the issues they are dealing with, or else one of these other teams will be representing the East in the Finals next June.