Section 36 Celtics has its very first visitor! You may remember Joshua Berube from his excellent first visit to discuss the Red Sox over on Section 36. Since then, he's branched out on his own. You can see his writings on the Celtics at Everything Celtics. With the Celtics starting their season tonight, I thought it would be nice to have him visit to discuss the team and their upcoming season. So, without wasting any more time, let's see what happens when Joshua Berube visits Section 36!
What does the Al Horford signing mean for the Celtics?
The signing of Al Horford for the Celtics was big in a number of ways. What does it mean for the Celtics? It means that Celtics have upgraded their post play, defense (believe it or not, knowing they were 4th last year in defensive rating) and offense. They finally have a legitimate center and low post presence with the addition of the 4-time All-star. He is excellent in the pick and roll, makes smart decisions with the ball and is consistent. I have been especially impressed with how quickly he has assimilated to the Celtics system. It has been as he has been here for years.
Here at Section 36, we’re big fans of Marcus Smart. What will we see out of him this season?
Marcus Smart has been appropriately named the bulldog. He isn't afraid of contact and has one speed, all out. I am a little worried that he rolled his ankle in the last pre-season game. With Olynyk just recently cleared the other day for full contact in practice, that is 2/5th's of the second team unavailable for the first week at least. I definitely foresee improvement out of Marcus starting only his third year in the NBA. He definitely needs to improve on his woeful 3-point shooting from last year’s 25.3% preventing him from being one-dimensional offensively. I would also like to see less flopping from Marcus. As of a matter fact, I think it takes away from his game and could hurt him late in the game from getting a call. Here's an example:
However, I am excited to see more of the three-headed monster on the defensive end with Smart, Bradley and Crowder this year.
How will the 16-17 season end for the Celtics?
Last year, I picked the Celtics to win 50 games and had them finishing third in the Eastern Conference. This year Vegas have them with the fifth best odds of winning Banner 18. I am in line with the Celtics finishing 2nd in the Eastern Conference, winning 52 games this season.
Will the Celtics be a defensive or offensive team this season?
I believe the Celtics will be the most balanced they have been in 6 years. However, defense will be their calling card but their offense not necessarily predicated by defense. Al Horford will give them post play they have severely been lacking, enhancing the in/out game they love to play.
As a fan, which will be the “can’t miss” game of the season?
Can't miss game: Friday, November 18th, against the Golden State Warriors in Boston. Not only did the Celtics have two fantastic games against the Warriors, a 2-OT thriller in Boston, which ended in a loss but also a huge win in Golden State in April, where it got distinction of: One of “The five teams that 'really' beat the Golden State Warriors.” In addition, the Celtics courted Kevin Durant hard this off-season only to lose out to, you guessed it, the Warriors. Jae Crowder was not impressed with Durant's choice, calling it a slap in the face. I just believe the atmosphere is going to be electric.
Which player is poised to make the jump this season?
I am super intrigued in what Jaylen Brown, the Celtics 1st and 3rd Overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft does. I think he is going to be a special player. However, I think the player poised to make the jump this year is Terry Rozier. When the Celtics lost Evan Turner to free agency to the Portland Trail Blazers, I watched all summer for them to fill that void of a dependable ball handler for the 2nd unit and nothing really materialized. I think Rozier has a chance to be that guy and gain huge minutes and a lot more responsibility.
Does Isaiah Thomas make the all-star team this season?
As you may know, I have been hard on Isaiah ever since he has come to the Celtics and I did not believe he was an All-Star last year. While I think his ceiling is high, he has a lot of deficiencies in his game, specifically defense and the propensity to always drive to the left. However, we all know the All-star game is not about having a complete game and its more about showmanship. I do believe he will make it as a reserve.
Let's bring home Banner 18!
I can get behind that!
As always, a huge thank you to Joshua for answering some questions for us. It's always great to hear other people's views, and Joshua did a great job giving his.
If you want to hear more of what Joshua has to say, check out his writing at Everything Celtics. And, of course, give him a follow on Twitter for even more great insight.
Thanks again Joshua!