We’re 9 days away from the Celtics taking the floor in Philadelphia to tip off the 2019-2020 season. The staff at Red’s Army have 9 more predictions to give before it all gets started.
As you saw yesterday, we’ve all tempered our expectations for the win-loss record of the 19-20 Celtics as compared to last year. But even with fewer wins, do any of us believe that the Celtics can surpass last season’s finish line of the Eastern Conference Semifinals? Answers below:
Ben Mark: Eastern Conference Semifinals
Explanation: I think 47 wins gets the Celtics either the 4 or 5 seed and I think they win that first-round series with or without homecourt advantage. They’ll then run into either Milwaukee or Philadelphia, and let’s face it, those teams are better right now. The Celtics will lose in 5 or 6, but it will still feel better than it did last year
Chuck McKenney: Eastern Conference Semifinals
Explanation: The Celtics will be the 3rd seed in the East. Book it. They’ll edge out Toronto, Indiana, and Brooklyn in the middle of the East. And wouldn’t it be fun to play Kyrie and the Nets in the opening round? (oh pretty please!) Kemba Walker will shine and taste playoff victory for the first time in his career. A second-round draw will get them Philly or Milwaukee and unless there’s a significant injury, I think the Celtics train will stop here.
Mike Dynon: Eastern Conference Finals
Explanation: If there’s any justice, the Celtics will return to the level they reached at the moment Tatum yammed on LeBron. They’re going to need everything to go right, including having Hayward rediscover his mojo to offset the loss of Horford, and Danny Ainge swinging a trade deadline deal that shifts the balance of power in the East (think Marc Gasol to Toronto last February).
Rich Jensen: NBA Champions
Explanation: Again, I’m all in on the 2019/20 Celtics. The 2017/18 “hospital” Celtics were good enough to come within an ace of the Finals, and while the talent has moved around a bit in the East, the overall picture doesn’t look that different than it did two years ago. Sure, the young guys playing for other teams have gotten better, but then again, so have the Celtics’ youth. The whole league looks wide open for the first time in a few years, and I don’t think you should underestimate a tight team with a chip on its shoulder. Yes, Horford’s gone, but so is Rozier, and Rozier was a sulking disaster.
Chuck B: Eastern Conference Finals
Explanation: While the East has gotten better in the long term, in the short term (Due to KD’s injury), not much has changed at the top (besides Toronto with Kawhi’s departure). Unlike most, I still am not bearish on the Bucks and I need to see them actually make it all the way before I anoint them Kings of the East. After Philly beefed up their roster they should slide into the #1 seed which would set the Celtics up with a rematch of last season’s ECSF with the Bucks. If the Celtics can stifle Giannis like the Raptors did last season and reach their full potential, I see them taking out the mighty Bucks in a thrilling 7 game series.
Liam Green: Eastern Conference Finals
Explanation: Both Philly and Milwaukee are better than the Celtics in theory but only one of them will be better in practice (probably Milwaukee). I think that much like 16-17, they smash their way through a tough ECSF and then fall in 5 or 6 during the ECF.