Over the next month, Blazer's Edge will be rolling out season previews for all 30 NBA teams. Continuing this feature, we discuss the Boston Celtics with CelticsBlog editor William Sy.
Boston Celtics 2014-15 Season Preview
2013-14 Record: 36-46, No. 4 in Atlantic Division, No. 12 in Eastern Conference
Roster additions: Tim Frazier (rookie, undrafted), Rodney McGruder, Erik Murphy, Dwight Powell (rookie, No. 45), Marcus Smart (rookie, No. 6), Marcus Thornton, Evan Turner, Christian Watford, James Young (rookie, No. 17), Tyler Zeller
Roster subtractions: Chris Babb, Jerryd Bayless, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Chris Johnson,
SB Nation affiliate: CelticsBlog
Blazer's Edge: Do you think Rajon Rondo will still be a Celtic by the trade deadline? How does his recent injury affect the backcourt rotation?
William Sy: Absolutely, and he'll sign a max or near max contract next summer. Ainge understands the value of assets and even if he's not in the long term plan, retaining his only star is a priority. With an expected exponential increase in the salary cap in two years because of the new NBA television deal, a max contract in 2015 won't nearly be as much as one the following summer. For the immediate future, his hand injury shouldn't affect the rotation too much. In classic Rondo fashion, he's predicting a short rehab and should be back within the first two weeks of the season.
BE: What role does Marcus Smart need to play in Boston this year? What are your expectations for him?
WS: Smart has been very humble so far and [coach] Stevens has raved about his modest attitude, but at some point, I want to see the dog in Smart's aggressive personality. He's a terror on the defensive end and a wrecking ball in the lane. As soon as he gets his feet wet in NBA waters, I expect him to have an impact. I don't see him being a prolific scorer, but if he can affect the back court like a 6'4 Joakim Noah, I'll be happy.
BE: Kelly Olynyk had a solid rookie season, but he has some veterans in front of him in the frontcourt..how does Olynyk get consistent playing time this year?
WS: The party line is that everybody is a candidate for the starting lineup, but I'm already putting in pen Olynyk's name for 30-35 minutes. Whether that's as a starter or as the first big off the bench, KO will play. He doesn't wow you with athleticism, but he'll take whatever the defense will give him. Leave him open, he'll hit the mid-range. Play up and he'll drive past you or make the right pass. He'll play a lot of high post for Stevens and I'll call his sophomore season a success if he's in that 12-7-5 range.
BE: Who are the main scorers on this Celtics team? It's difficult to see where consistent point production would come from looking at the roster..
WS: You're going to see 7-8 guys averaging 12-15 points per game. Jeff Green should step up nicely in the new offense. He wasn't efficient last year as a go-to player, but with Marcus Smart and Evan Turner added as primary ball handlers, Green will shift over to his more comfortable off-ball position. Jared Sullinger is also a sneaky source for scoring. He'll get a few paint touches as the first option on a lot of sets, but he's talked about making a difference with his rebounding, so I'm hoping he gets a few cheap put backs here and there.
BE: Are there any impact players coming off the bench? Who's the sixth man for the Celtics this year, and what's his function when he's on the court?
WS: The easy answer is Vinnie Johnson lite, Marcus Thornton. He's known as a scorer and he's the perfect candidate to light it up from the bench, but I'm really rooting for a re-birth of Gerald Wallace. Before his knee injury last season, his numbers weren't great, but he consistently battled and took every opportunity he had to take it to the rack. This season, he'll get PT in short bursts and that should help him reach the Crash levels of his Charlotte days.
Special thanks to CelticsBlog editor William Sy for taking the time to discuss the Boston Celtic's upcoming season with Blazer's Edge. CelticsBlog can be found on twitter @celticsblog. CelticsBlog has you covered for Celtics news and analysis.
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