Celtics Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2022

Celtics Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 27: Jayson Tatum #0 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics talk during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 27, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics could be scary good during the 2022-23 NBA season.

    While we can't know that for sure just yet, it also feels like we kind of do already. They were a buzz saw for the better portion of last season, closing the campaign on a 33-10 sprint and keeping that run going into the NBA Finals.

    They couldn't seal the deal with a title, but that perhaps spurred them into a more productive offseason than they would've had with a win. They really impressed with a trade for Malcolm Brogdon and the signing of Danilo Gallinari, and while the latter has since been lost to a torn ACL, the former still looms as one of the summer's most impactful additions.

    How good could the Shamrocks be this time around? To help answer that question, we're laying out three bold predictions for coach Ime Udoka's bunch.

Boston Has 3 All-Stars

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    BOSTON, MA - JULY 12: The Boston Celtics introduce new players Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari during a press conference on July 12, 2022 at the Auerbach Center in Boston, Massachusetts.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

    Jayson Tatum has an All-Star spot until he decides he no longer wants one. He's been selected each of the past three seasons—the last two as a starter—and should only see more invitations come his way as the 24-year-old continues polishing his game.

    Jaylen Brown is close to making the same thing happen for himself. He was an All-Star in 2020-21 but didn't get the call last season despite posting similar numbers. If he manages to level up his ball-handling and playmaking, this won't be a discussion going forward.

    For Boston to get three All-Stars—something it hasn't had since Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen made the trip together in 2011—it just needs one more player to make that leap.

    Maybe a healthy Malcolm Brogdon can get there. If Robert Williams III sees enough action, the spot could be his. Marcus Smart could get the nod with a pinch more offense, or maybe Al Horford turns back the clock and makes such an impact on winning that voters have no other choice but to select him.

Celtics Top 63 Wins

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    BOSTON, MA - JUNE 9: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics talks with Head Coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics during the 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability on June 9, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

    Only three times in franchise history has Boston topped 63 wins: 1972-73, 1985-86 and 2007-08.

    Could this group make it four?

    The easy answer is no. But after watching this group spend the last three months of 2021-22 on a similar track (33-10 is a 63-win pace), it doesn't require a huge leap in logic to think it could happen.

    Boston's biggest hurdle might be health, and that's admittedly a huge one. Gallinari has already been pulled from the equation, Williams just went under the knife for left knee surgery, and Brogdon has had a difficult time staying on the floor of late.

    If the injuries don't pile up, though, this roster might offer the best blend of top-level talent and depth.

Boston Breezes Through East Playoffs, Wins Championship

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    MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 29: The Boston Celtics celebrate after the win against the Miami Heat in game seven of the Eastern Conference Final at FTX Arena on May 29, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Celtics will enter next season with all eyes on the prize. They had a great chance to secure the last one—they were up 1-0 and 2-1 in the Finals—and perhaps the lessons learned in that series will guide them through the next championship round.

    "The biggest message was learn from this, grow from it, take this experience and see there is another level to get to," Udoka told reporters in June. "Just don't back the same as players, coaching staff. Let this fuel you throughout the offseason into next year."

    If the Celtics have funneled their frustration correctly, they could be unstoppable.

    Remember, they looked pretty unbeatable for much of last season, when they didn't have this extra fuel, let alone Brogdon's experience, shot-making, defending and distributing.

    If they reach their full potential, they might not seriously sweat until the Finals and could have more than enough to lock up a world title.

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