With the final roster spots being sorted out, lets see how the ‘2K Celtics’ approach this upcoming season.
Throughout the simulation, the Celtics were faced with adversity and the usual, NBA roller coaster ride. Kemba Walker makes the all-star team, a trade is made, and Boston makes the playoffs. So strap in and lets get started.
The first wall that l ran in to was the minutes distribution for the guards and wings on the roster. Walker/Tatum with the obvious 33 +/game, but once it came to Smart, Brown, Hayward, Langford, Wanamaker and Edwards, the allocation became difficult.
The unexpected challenge with this roster is finding minutes for Wanamaker with the rise of Carsen Edwards and the addition of Romeo Langford crowding the guard position. This isn’t horrible news because if the injury bug comes around then they’ll have insurance, although you never want to rely on rookies to carry a playoff team.
The hole at the center position became magnified within the first five games, with just one win and four losses, the Celtics were being out-rebounded by at least ten boards per game. A small deal was made to provide a rebounding boost and to compensate for the lack of size on the roster.
Kings receive: Brad Wanamaker, 2020 2nd Round Pick (Celtics)
Celtics receive: Caleb Swanigan
Immediately following the trade, Boston went on a ten game win-streak that came to an abrupt end with the news that Jaylen Brown would be missing some time with injury.
The injury bug comes around every year for teams and is inevitable. The Celtics know all too well what an injury or two can do to a promising season.
Jaylen Brown – Out for 6-8 weeks (Broken Leg)
During this two month period, Boston actually won eight of ten with the elevated play from Tatum, but just two weeks into the recovery, Boston was plagued by yet another injury..
Jayson Tatum – Out 4-6 weeks (Broken Ankle)
The injury to Tatum was a huge loss, especially since it was at the same time as Brown’s, and entering the second half stretch of the season it was poor timing to say the least.
Luckily for Boston, the injury that Tatum suffered was a few days before the All-star break, giving time for both players to heal, however, both recoveries took longer than expected. As the two stars were unavailable until late-March, the Celtics were 3-9 out of the break and struggling.
After both Brown and Tatum returned, Boston won 10 of their last 12 to close out the season. The Celtics finished among the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 46-36.
In the first round matchup, the four-seed Celtics took on the five-seed Raptors and the result was not pretty. After sweeping Toronto in the first round in blowout fashion, Boston, with loads of momentum, met Milwuakee for the third straight year and was knocked out in five games for the second year in a row.
Milwuakee went on to reach the NBA Finals, but were them clobbered by the revamped Golden State Warriors in five games after Steph Curry (37 pts), D’Angelo Russell (31 pts), and Klay Thompson (28 pts) combined for 96 points in the closeout game in Milwuakee to win the championship.
The top-3 scorers for the Celtics were Walker, Tatum and Hayward, with Brown trailing by just one point per game. The underrated player award goes to rookie, Grant Williams, as he posted just over nine points, eight rebounds and rejecting one shot per game.
- K. Walker – 24.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.9 APG, 48%/39%/87%
- J. Tatum – 17.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 49%/40%/87%
- G. Hayward – 15.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.2 APG, 47%/36%/84%
- J. Brown – 14.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 43%/37%/74%
As for the season awards…
- Most Valuable Player: Paul George (24.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 5.4 APG, 2.3 SPG, 51%/46%/84%)
- Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson (22 PPG, 11 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2 BPG, 52%/35%/80%)
- Six Man of the Year: Lou Williams (19 PPG, 3 RPG, 4 APG, 46%/44%/96.6%)
- Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (10 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.4 SPG, 2.2 BPG)
- Most Improved Player: Zach Lavine (23 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 52%/40%/89%)
- Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni (Rockets: 62-20, No.1 Seed)
Is it safe to say that Boston might not be contending this season?
Yes, of course. The lack of rebounding was the main deterrent for the Celtics in the second round against Milwuakee, and will most likely be the biggest flaw of the actual team throughout this upcoming NBA season.
Vegas has the Celtics winning 48.5 games this season, so a 46 win season seems very possible. Even a second round exit for the C’s would be Kemba’s most successful year in the league, and with another year to acquire a top-talent big man, I’d say Boston is a year or two away from championship contention unless Jayson Tatum can elevate his scoring to 20+ points per game and Gordon Hayward returns to his former All-Star self.