2011-12 Boston Celtics Predictions and NBA Futures Preview

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the New York Knicks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Most teams would be thrilled with a 56-26 season. However, the Boston Celtics were disappointed by the way last season ended. LeBron James and the Miami Heat knocked Boston out in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It seems the Celtics are in a tough place right now. The team isn’t exactly in rebuilding mode, but they don’t seem to have the ability to contend for an NBA title with their current roster.

Will the Celtics look to make a big trade and make a last run at another championship with its group of veterans? It should be an interesting season in Boston.

The Celtics were on top of the NBA after their title win over the Lakers in 2008. The team nearly had another win in 2010, but the Lakers beat them in Game 7 and got a measure of revenge.  

Boston tried to make some moves last year to upgrade the team, but it seems as if this is a team that is in decline right now. There are still plenty of talented veterans and a great coach, but will that be enough to stave off a multitude of up-and-coming teams in the NBA?

It’s tough to consider the Celtics a favorite, but a team with so many perennial all-stars shouldn’t be completely discounted.

The news of Jeff Green’s heart condition came as a shock to the team this past weekend. Green will miss the entire season as he must undergo surgery for an aortic aneurysm. The team was counting on getting a lot of production from Green this year, but everyone is definitely happy that it appears the doctors caught this in enough time to allow Green a full recovery.

Rajon Rondo will be asked to do even more this year. Rondo’s injury in the postseason last year really stopped any chance that this team had of making a deep run in the playoffs.

Boston fans are among the most loyal in the league, so this team will definitely be well-supported. At the same time, this team does have a target on its back because of its success over the last few years. The Celtics will always get the opponent's best shot.

Expectations are always high in Boston, and this year is no different.


Boston Celtics' Offseason Moves

The Celtics weren’t nearly as active this offseason as some expected. Danny Ainge has shown that he isn’t afraid to make big moves, but he largely stood pat during this shortened offseason period.

Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the game, so Rivers staying on board with the team was great news for this team’s prospects.

Glen Davis was a solid player for the Celtics, but the team opted to sign and trade him to Orlando for Brandon Bass. On the surface it might not make a ton of sense to get rid of Davis, but this was a terrific deal financially for the Celtics.

Bass has one year left on his contract, and he will make $4 million this season. Davis was signed to a four-year $26 million deal. Boston now has much more financial flexibility. In addition, Bass has proven himself to be a very capable player over the last couple years.

Keyon Dooling essentially took the place of Delonte West in the team’s guard rotation. Dooling is a solid defender, but the team can’t expect too much from him on the offensive end.


2011-12 Boston Celtics Schedule
The Celtics tip off the season in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks on Christmas Day. Boston will be right back on national television two days later as they visit Miami to take on the Heat.

The condensed season means a lot of back-to-back games this year. The Celtics will be a team that could be hurt by the tighter scheduling. Can the team’s older legs stay fresh over the course of the season?

Boston starts an eight-game road trip on March 11 against the Lakers. The team will have a tough back-to-back-to-back series beginning April 13.


Boston Celtics NBA Futures Odds

There was a time when the Celtics were considered a favorite to win the NBA Championship, but that isn’t the case anymore. JustBet gives Boston the sixth-best NBA futures odds of any team to win the NBA Finals this year. The Celtics start the season listed at 15/1. This number may even slowly rise as oddsmakers adjust the lines because of Green’s medical issues.


2011-12 Boston Celtics Predictions

While he wasn’t initially included in the “Big Three,” Rondo is probably the team’s most valuable player at this point. Ray Allen had a terrific season last year, and the Celtics need him to come back with another great year.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce aren’t quite what they used to be, but they are still very solid players.

The Celtics will still play good defense, but if they wish to go deep in the playoffs, they must improve offensively. Boston was in the bottom half of the league in all the major offensive categories last year.

The condensed schedule doesn’t help this team a bit. Look for the Celtics to do a little worse in the regular season than they did last year, but the playoff result should be similar.


Doc Moseman is the owner of Doc’s Sports NBA picks Web site.