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Is 2024 the Celtics' Year?

As we stand today, the Celtics have a 57-16 record and are 11 games ahead of the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have been the best team in the league throughout the entire season on every metric and are the odds on favorite to win the NBA Championship with a number of +190. In an Eastern Conference that is considered FAR Weaker than than the West, the C's have an even better -135 odd of winning the conference. So does this mean the Celtics will finally make it over the hump this year?

The Celtics have made five ECF appearances in the previous seven seasons but only one NBA Championship appearance. The Celtic's ache for a championship is not confined only to the last seven years however, as the team has waited fifteen years since their last title, and the '08 championship has been their only title in thirty-seven years. The team has a reputation of not finishing in the playoffs in this span. Since their last championship fifteen years ago, the Celtics have had seven seasons of 50+ wins and thirteen seasons of 40+. They have made the ECF six times since then and obviously have not come away victorious at the end of the year, so what's different about this year?


Strengths


The biggest change in this season's team is 3-Point shooting. The Celtics lead the league in 3PM, 3PA and 3P% and are doing so without a "premiere" 3-point shooter on their roster. Jayson Tatum is by far their best offensive player and he is only averaging 3.1 3PM (a team high per game) on 38% shooting. The team has a total of six players with at least two 3PM per game which is by far the most in the NBA, which is one of the reasons they have a full two 3PM more than any other team.


Another reason the team has been so great this far is their lack of turnovers. Ranking second in the league with only 11.4 turnovers per game, they are only bested by the 76ers who are averaging 7 fewer PPG. Jayson Tatum is one of only three players averaging over 27 PPG and under 3 turnovers per game at 2.5. Jaylen Brown is also setting a superb example with 23.3 PPG and 2.3 turnovers per game. The Celtics' current rate will have them posting the lowest number in team's history.


Playoffs


For the rest of the season the Celtics have the #30 ranked strength of schedule. With 57 wins through 73 games it's extremely likely they achieve 60 wins and possibly get to 65, but as we've learned that doesn't guarantee playoff success. To make it to the NBA Championship they will have to battle with Eastern Conference teams such as the Bucks, Cavaliers, Pacers and Knicks who are all having above average seasons. Currently ranked #1, the Celtics will play the #8 seed after the Play-In tournament is finished between the Heat, 76ers, Bulls and Hawks. The Heat and 76ers are clearly the best two of the bunch and the former have eliminated the Celtics in two of their previous three playoff runs.


While the Heat may be a good test in the first round, the Celtics are expected to cruise past whoever the 8 seed would be into the next round where most likely the Cavaliers or Pacers will be waiting. This will be an even bigger test that again, the C's are expected to breeze by. The ECF this year will likely feature the Celtics and the Bucks. The Celtics have a 2-1 record against the Bucks this season and will make for a very high-scoring offensive battle.


If and when the Celtics make it out of the East, it is likely the reigning champion Nuggets will be waiting for them. Other teams that could upset Denver include the Clippers, Thunder and Timberwolves but none of these teams seemingly have the talent or experience to do so.


A championship series between the Nuggets and Celtics would be a nail-biter and one where the Celtics have both advantages and disadvantages. Defending Jokic would be the biggest disadvantage without a great big man on their roster besides the defensive-limited Kristaps Porzingis. The Celtics advantages range from better shooting to better runners and better depth, but with recent playoff heartbreaks being so easily remembered, can the Celtics finally take the final step and win an NBA Championship this year?


Check out fansonlysportz.com for more sports media content posted daily.


Make sure to stay tuned as we continue coverage of the 2024 Boston Celtics.


-Z.D.



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