Boston Celtics 2017-18 season primer: A return back to the NBA Finals?

NBA Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving Gordon Hayward (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving Gordon Hayward (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

After a near perfect NBA offseason, are the Boston Celtics destined to make a return to the NBA Finals?

The 2017 NBA offseason was one of the busiest in recent memory as deals were being made seemingly every day. As the events unfolded, the Boston Celtics were wrapped up in the thick of almost every deal, resulting in a near overhaul of the entire roster.

Boston picked up Gordon Hayward through free agency, drafted a talented prospect in Jayson Tatum, traded away longtime-Celtic Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris, and acquired Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas in one of the biggest front office surprises in an offseason filled with plenty of them.

Despite missing out on the Paul George and Jimmy Butler sweepstakes, the Celtics made their fair share of moves to get in position to possibly vault themselves ahead of Cleveland in terms of Eastern Conference supremacy.

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While this new Boston team has yet to play with each other (excluding their preseason debut), chemistry within them should not take long to find as Gordon Hayward, a former player of head coach Brad Stevens at Butler University, will be familiar with the coaching system, and Irving will be accepting a new role as a team leader after being in LeBron’s shadows in Cleveland.

Last season, the Boston Celtics finished 53-29, earning them a top seed in the Eastern Conference, and made it to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2012 behind the stardom of Isaiah Thomas. Boston had an early chance at winning the series, but Isaiah Thomas’ season-ending hip injury eventually led to their demise, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Cleveland.

Despite Thomas being traded away, the Celtics should not miss a beat with Irving taking over the point guard duties. The success, or lack thereof, of Kyrie Irving in the Boston system will be key to the Celtics’ success in 2017-18.

Al Horford’s production will be a key factor in determining the production of the Celtics frontcourt as the 31-year-old veteran will welcome in veteran Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes, who is expected to see increased minutes throughout the season, to facilitate a new look at the power forward and center positions.

A player primed for a breakout season is second-year small forward Jaylen Brown. After averaging just 6.6 points per game in his rookie season, Brown will see increased looks as the backup man to Gordon Hayward, and will be put in position early in 2017-18 to be the the sixth man to one of the most lethal starting lineups in not only the Eastern Conference, but the entire NBA.

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With the additions and departures of multiple key players over the offseason, it’s hard to determine how exactly Boston will fare in 2017-18. However, the Celtics are heavily favored to secure the No. 1 seed and dominate the East, aside from Cleveland, in the playoffs.

As for facing off against the Cavs, the Celtics will have an advantage over Cleveland on all sides of the ball and eventually have a chance at getting back to the NBA Finals come June.