The Boston Celtics are just 13-13 after 26 games and barely clinging to the final playoff spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Despite the slow start, Celtics coach Doc Rivers still has plenty of time to transform this team into a championship contender.
Boston’s .500 record is not at all indicative of what this team will look like come playoff time. The Celtics welcomed 10 new players to the roster this past offseason and they are still waiting for guard Avery Bradley to return from shoulder surgery.
Once Bradley works his way back into the rotation and the rest of the newcomers figure out their roles, Boston will end up comfortably making the postseason.
Last year’s Celtics surprised most NBA fans and analysts by pushing the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston president Danny Ainge did a masterful job of retooling the roster this offseason—adding more youth to an aging core—which will keep the team in the championship hunt for another year or two.
Boston returned only five major contributors from last season, so the bonus falls on Rivers to integrate the new pieces into the Celtics’ system.
With the high roster turnover and Doc’s recent track record, most fans have been patient as the team finds its way. Sometime around the All-Star break, Rivers should have the Celtics looking like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Since winning the 2008 NBA title, Boston has returned to the championship-or-bust pedigree that was absent since the late ‘80s. Here are five ways that Doc Rivers can maintain that standard of excellence and guide the Celtics toward title number 18.