The Sporting News Pro Basketball projects the Celtics to finish 9th in the Eastern Conference. Here are bits and pieces from the article by Shira Springer.
Style: Rivers is at his best when motivating his players, but he struggles with game management. Too often, he makes puzzling substitutions and questionable strategic calls in the fourth quarter. Grade C
Guards: What the Celtics lack in quality, they more than make up for in quantity. Even though Rivers has a plethora of guards to choose from, Telfair will matter most. With the acquisition of Rondo, West becomes the odd man out but that may not be bad because he can give the Celtics an efficient 12-15 ppg at shooting guard. Rondo won't put up 20 ppg but will get minutes because he hustles on defense. Grade B-
The parting comment is one I like: "Everyone talks about Al Jefferson but Kendrick Perkins is a guy who is going to be a very good scorer inside. He warrants some playing time. Forwards: This likely will be a breakout year for Al Jefferson, after a disappointing second season. When healthy Szczerbiak brings scoring, experience and athletic ability to the small forward spot. He complements Pierce well because he likes to post up and looks for high percentage shots inside. The Celtics relied on Gomes more than they thought they would have to last season. He possesses court savvy that Rivers cannot afford to keep on the bench. Gerald Green emerged as a potential big time scorer at the end of his rookie season, but he must improve his defense before he'll get serious minutes. Given his toughness and competitiveness, rookie Leon Powe will get minutes by sheer will. Grade C
Centers: The Celtics will feature a combination of youth and experience, starting with Perkins. Perkins has improved his offensive game since entering the league, but it is not a strength. It is unknown how much Ratliff has left. At the very least Ratliff can show the younger Celtics what it means to defend inside. Grade C-
Bottom Line: If Pierce and younger players such as Jefferson, Perkins and Telfair continue to improve, the Celtics will be better than they were last season. But not by much. Boston is an average team that will fight for a playoff berth. Any loftier goals will be foolhardy.
Another expert who doesn't expect much from our team this season. I expect Jefferson and Perk to not only improve over last season, but to break out. I expect the team as a whole to have an entirely new tempo and attitude due to the presence of a pure point who can run and find the open man. I can't wait for the collective "I was wrong" from the media when the Celtics surprise everyone this season.