The Boston Celtics have made a number of roster and front office changes after finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference last season.
ESPN released its preseason predictions and it has pegged the Celtics to finish the season 45-37 (.548) and in sixth place, one slot under the Atlanta Hawks in the East. This would mark an improvement of about four wins, extrapolating the Celtics’ .500 finish last year to a full 82 games.
This would put the Celtics right above the play-in tournament, one game ahead of seventh place and two games under the Hawks in fifth. ESPN places the Brooklyn Nets (58-24) and Milwaukee Bucks (57-25) as the clear top two teams ahead of a second tier of Philadelphia 76ers (50-32), Miami Heat (49-33), Hawks (47-35) and finally the Celtics.
Boston has a new head coach, Ime Udoka, after poaching him from the Brooklyn Nets and a new president of basketball operations, former head coach Brad Stevens.
Writer Tim Bontemps cited these changes as a reason for the Celtics’ placement:
Then, in his first significant move in the job, Stevens traded star guard Kemba Walker to bring back a former favorite, center Al Horford. Boston also swung a trade for Josh Richardson, signed Dennis Schroder to an inexpensive, one-year deal and hired former Nets assistant Ime Udoka to take over for Stevens as head coach.