There’s no sidestepping the obvious: The Boston Celtics’ much-anticipated 2012 campaign is off to one disappointing start. However, there are early indications that the team is ready to begin laying the foundation for another playoff run.
In fact, the Celtics could even be considered perennial contenders for the NBA title this season.
During the preseason, fan expectations elevated to an unexpected high following an improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season paired with several key offseason acquisitions.
On paper, the team looked good. Really good. It led many fans to believe that this was the season Boston fought its way back into the league’s elite.
However, a 6-6 start has critics and analysts alike cracking jokes at the expense of the “foolish” optimism shared by the Celtics’ faithful.
Boston’s early season play hasn’t done much to help their supporters’ cause.
While the team is 4-1 against opponents who are below .500, the Celtics have struggled against opponents above .500, registering a 2-5 mark.
A lot of that can be credited to porous defending.
According to Synergy Sports numbers, the Celtics rank No. 26 in overall defense, No. 30 in transitional defense and No. 16 in half-court sets. As it stands, Boston has allowed opponents 99.3 points per game—an increase from the 89.3 per game they allowed last season.
Furthermore, the Celtics rank No. 27 in opposing field goal percent (46.3) and No. 29 in opposing three-point field goal percent (38.1).
To put it harshly: Jack Taylor could’ve easily gone for 140 points on Boston’s defense right now.
But behind all the shortcomings, alarming stats and negative press, is a silver lining of hope. Hope that the Celtics can make one last run to glory during the “Big 3” era.
Here are three reasons to expect a Boston turnaround this season.