Eastern Conference Preview: How good are the Celtics?


Don’t be surprised if the Boston Celtics finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Apr 13, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) holds the ball as Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (back) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) holds the ball as Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (back) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a crazy off-season, and the Miami Heat isn’t the only team to face major changes this summer. The landscape in the Eastern Conference has shifted, a Super Duper Team has been created out West and the Cavaliers are gearing up for another title run. Here at All U Can Heat, we will be talking with some of the experts from around the NBA and the FanSided network, getting their takes on the teams they cover as well as the Miami Heat. To cover the Boston Celtics, we were joined by Jeremy Karll of Hardwood Houdini, who was kind enough to answer a few questions.

All U Can Heat: Where else could we possibly start other than Al Horford? Do you think the Horford signing makes the Celtics a legitimate contender in the East?

Jeremy Karll: If you mean a threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers then no way. I think they’ll compete for the second seed.

But people seem to forget that the Toronto Raptors won 56 games, made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and added Jared Sullinger, Jakob Poeltl and return DeMarre Carroll from injury.

Horford adds everything the Celtics needed last season, but they still need another piece or two (three-point shooter) before they can compete with Cleveland. The Celtics next step is a deep playoff run and proving they’re better than Toronto.

AUCH: I’m a big Jaylen Brown fan, but I must admit I was surprised when the Celtics took him with the third overall pick. What are your impressions of Brown so far?

Jeremy: It was a surprising pick but what else did you expect from Danny Ainge? Despite the criticism, I think Jaylen Brown has a bright future, but he needs time. In an era when young players don’t get a lot of time, I hope the Celtics don’t try to rush Brown because he has a chance to be really special if he develops. He’s a freak athlete, already a good defender and did a great job of getting to the line during summer league.

A lot of young players need to develop a better outside shot and Brown is no different. If he shows no improvement over his first couple of seasons in that area then I’ll be worried. But his defense gives him the ability to be a contributor right away, and I love that.

AUCH: How excited are you to have Gerald Green back?

Jeremy: If Green can shoot 40 percent from three like he did with Phoenix then I’ll be very excited. Unlike a lot of people, my expectations aren’t super high. I’m not sure if it was the slower pace but, as you know, he did not thrive in Miami.

He adds another athlete to a Celtics team that really needed a couple, but he’s not going to play if he can’t shoot. With Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown being liabilities from three, Green will only see minutes if he can add three-point shooting. It’s low-risk, high-reward on a one-year deal, so I can’t complain.

AUCH: Where do predict the Celtics finishing in the Eastern Conference?

Jeremy: I think the Celtics will finish between first and third. Cleveland is the best team but LeBron James-led teams have only won the conference regular season title in two of the past six seasons. James is focused on winning in the postseason so it sometimes leaves the door open for other teams.

With that being said, the Celtics still have to prove and show that all the hype this offseason is warranted. Plus, a lot of times teams have a transition period when adding a star player to their roster. I can’t see more than Toronto and Cleveland having a better record than them, though.

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AUCH: I think the Celtics have one more trade to make. What do you think?

Jeremy: They definitely need to make a couple more moves. Danny Ainge is resistant of moving any of the Brooklyn picks so it’s been hard. I would love to see them add a sharpshooter, add to their improved front court or a reliable wing scorer.

For as much media attention as the Celtics’ assets get, they won’t win the Celtics a title. Stars win titles and right now the Celtics have two All-Stars but neither should be considered a top option on a championship team.

The Celtics are improved and could be a pest to the Cavaliers in the postseason, but they still have many holes to fill.

AUCH: From an outsider’s perspective, what did you make of the Heat’s off-season?

Jeremy: It was going to be hard to bring back both Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade but I think the way Pat Riley let Wade walk was a little disrespectful after all the pay cuts he’s taken over the years and what he’s meant to the franchise.

As good as Whiteside is, and as important as it was to bring him back, I don’t think he’s someone you can build around, rather a great complementary piece.

Whether Chris Bosh can be healthy for a full season is the real question, but it seems like they’re putting all their eggs on young players and Goran Dragic who is coming off a disappointing 2015-16 campaign.

Thanks to Jeremy Karll for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow him on Twitter @JeremyKarll5 and read him over at Hardwood Houdini, covering the Boston Celtics for FanSided.