Regular Season : 53-29 (2nd in East)
Playoffs: NBA Champions
The Celtics are going to compare very well with their record from last season, however, the addition of Shaq followed by the return of Perkins later in the season coupled with the amazing team chemistry is going to help them grind out a few more wins a push them to finishing with the 2 seed in the East.
The Celtics, according to last years statements from Doc Rivers, are going to make "one last run at it" with this team. With the talent, veteran leadership and chemistry, the Boston Celtics are going to play with a chip on their shoulder as if they have something to prove. Factor in the feelings that this may be the last shot for some of these guys and a great opportunity for the younger guys, the Celtics are going to have one hell of a season. A return to the NBA Finals capped by knocking off the "super-team" Miami Heat and taking the Lakers down for revenge from last year is going to cause some ruckus in Boston.
Regular Season : 51 - 31 (3rd in the East)
Playoffs: NBA Champions (in 5 games vs. LA)
The NBA went through quite a revolution during the offseason but the champions remained basically the same while the runner-ups turned one of their weaknesses into one of their strong points. Regardless of what the Lakers, Heat, Magic or any other team did, the Celtics just added a sure-fire Hall of Fame center to a team with three Hall of Famers and potentially two more already in their starting line-up. Rondo is a proven great player and Perkins has proven himself a very good player with superb defensive skills.
Some analysts point to Shaq's defense as a troubling sign but he's the perfect complement to Perkins. The Celtics have needed a big man to score from 2 feet from the basket for decades. And through the past three years it's remained our one gaping hole. Get ready for a helping heaping of Rondo to Shaq as that fatal flaw is gone.
The Celtics will not have the best record in the league, it'll likely go to the Heat (if they stay healthy). But when the Heat and C's match up in the playoffs, our 4/5/6 Hall of Famers will prove too much for a team with just 3. The Heat are stacked at three position, the Lakers are stacked and the Celtics are now super stacked. If the Celtics follow last year's formula and get the bench involved during the season, heck even start them here and there, then when the Playoffs come around everyone will be ready, healthy, and have energy and experience to win the NBA championship in possibly the toughest postseason ever.
Regular Season : 59-23 (1st in Atlantic)
Playoffs: NBA Champions
The new season is upon and it I think I've recovered from the heart wrenching loss in the Finals this past summer. There have been a few new roster changes to make note of this offseason, Delonte West returns to Boston along with the new arrivals of the O'Neals, Shaq and Jermaine. With the loss of Kendrick Perkins to knee surgery I feel that we found a reasonable inside presence to fill the void of Perkins. This season looks to be an exciting one especially with the level of competition in the Eastern Conference that are on the teams from Florida. I expect another strong post season run from the Celtics especially if they take a similar approach like last season and cruise along through the regular season saving strength and staying healthy leading to the playoffs. Let's hope this is the season that banner number 18 comes to the Garden.
Regular Season : 52-30 (3rd in East)
Playoffs: NBA Champions
The regular season means nothing. The Celtics made that point very clear by making an improbable run to the Finals last season, just half a quarter collapse away from being NBA Champions for the 18th time. The Celtics' path to the playoffs will closely mirror last year. There will be a strong start that leads into the January through February lull, followed by the Celtics limping into the playoffs with injury and durability issues. Experts and fans alike will wonder how far this team can go and is this the end of the Big Three. But if there is one thing to be learned, don't count this team out come playoff time.
The additions of the O'Neal brothers addresses the glaring rebounding weakness the Celtics had during the Finals. While the Miami Heat decided to start their own fantasy basketball league, the Celtics quietly signed the right pieces to outmatch the Heat, Magic, and Bulls come playoff time. The East has become a significantly stronger conference but the Celtics are built to outlast everyone.
This of course all hinges on how healthy the team is. Perkins's knee is the biggest question. Will he ever be the same player? The O'Neal brothers can hold the fort until his return but his presence will be needed if the Celtics expect to return to the Finals. But after watching how much fun this team is having during training camp and the preseason, I don't see anyone having better team chemistry than the Celtics. While the time will come for the Heat to dominate the Eastern Conference, the Celtics will stand in their way for one or two more seasons until a major roster overhaul. I see a Celtics-Lakers Finals for the third time in four years and the Celtics coming out on top after addressing their rebounding problems from last season.
Regular Season : 57-25
Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals
The talent will still be there, but age will continue to show on this team (Pierce/Allen/Garnett/Shaq). Doc Rivers proved to everyone last year that he knows it. He will do what he needs to do to get a solid seeding in the playoffs then come out in full force. The number one concern is injuries, especially after last season. They can still make it to the NBA finals and win it all. It will be tough to do with the talent in the eastern conference to repeat what they did last year (but with the title). There is one thing that will be guaranteed and that is an entertaining season both on and off the court! Enjoy it while it lasts!