2012-13 Win-Loss Prediction: 53-29
The original prediction for the Celtics' final record stood at 50-32, but with the recent acquisitions and revelations, I would be willing to add a couple more wins to that total.
This is a very deep team that will not be quite as susceptible as the 2011-12 team to injuries and slumps. I predict a very steady year, with the ability to limit minutes on the older veterans and keep them fresh throughout the season. To see the season-long breakdown and in-depth predictions, check out this monthly breakdown of the Celtics' schedule.
How it Ends
Predicting how things will look eight months from now, before the preseason has finished, is impossible. However, with all the additions the Celtics have made, as well as the players they have retained, it is hard to imagine them not making noise in the postseason once again.
No Celtics fan will be satisfied until the green team has knocked off Miami, and neither will any of the players. Therefore, I believe we are headed for, yet another, cataclysmic Eastern Conference finals between the two powerhouses that bracket the Eastern seaboard. I won't tempt the fates beyond that.
Top Players' Final Stat Lines
Rajon Rondo: 14 points, 11 assists, five rebounds per game
I'm looking for an increase in scoring from Rondo this season. He made it known that he can do it all in the postseason of 2012, and that should carry over to a more confident offensive game in 2012-13. However, with an increase in points, comes a slight decrease in assists.
The hope is that Rondo will start taking, and making, some of those layups he continually passes up. Look for the usual haul of triple-doubles scattered about as well, as the Celtics have 19 nationally televised regular season games.
Paul Pierce: 17 points, five assists, six rebounds per game
Pierce's usual has been slightly downgraded over the past couple seasons. That will continue as he won't have to carry such a load in 2012-13. While he should still lead the team in scoring, he won't approach 20 points per game. The Celtics are much deeper than in year's past, especially at small forward. Jeff Green will see significant minutes, lessening Pierce's court time and shots.
The Captain will still be immensely important to the team's success. His most important role will be as the team's clutch performer. He showed in singular games that he can still take over during Rondo's suspension against Atlanta. With no Ray Allen on the team, there is no doubt who gets the game winning shots.
Kevin Garnett: 14 points, three assists, seven rebounds per game
Still an elite defender, Garnett is the leader of the Celtics defensive unit. It will never matter how many minutes he is on the court, his impact will be felt on that end. He has taken numerous young bigs under his wing and taught them the defense. He will be doing the same with Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Darko Milicic.
Garnett's offense is still very important. The 18-foot jumper isn't going anywhere. His paint game improved in the postseason as well. The move to center is looking like a permanent thing, which works in his favor. Garnett is able to provide a mismatch over all kinds of centers, because of his versatility. This allows him to punish smaller and weaker players inside, as well as clearing slower bigs out of the paint with his mid-range game.