In less than a week the 2017-18 Boston Celtics will take the floor for the first time as training camp begins September 26th. There will be no shortage of questions about this team leading up to their October 17th season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Here are some of the Celtics’ top storylines to follow over the next month and into the season:
The Morris Twins’ Legal Situation
Markieff Morris and his twin brother, Celtics’ forward Marcus Morris, who were charged with assault in 2015 began their trial in Phoenix Tuesday. The trial is set to take two weeks and could interfere with both Markieff and Marcus’s start to the upcoming season with their respective teams. Marcus, who was acquired by Boston from the Detroit Pistons in early July is expected to have a large role for the Celtics this season. His absence from the team, even as early as training camp, does not allow the new look Celtics to immediately begin building on-court chemistry.
Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded from the Cavaliers this offseason came as a surprise to many fans even with reports that he and LeBron James did not always see eye to eye. Irving went on ESPN’s First Take earlier this week to speak about the trade and notably stated that he didn’t feel the need to consult with James before requesting a trade. It seems like Irving has always felt that LeBron has been holding him back from reaching his full potential as a basketball player. LeBron, like he always does, took the “high road” by thanking Irving on social media for their time as teammates but make no mistake, both of these guys want nothing more than to beat the other come playoff time. Irving vs James has the potential to be an exciting rivalry over the next few seasons.
The Starting Lineup
Three of the Celtics five starters have already been determined in Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. The other two spots are up for grabs. Longest-tenured Celtic Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown who is entering his second NBA season will likely be the two battling it out for the other guard position alongside Irving. As for the available forward slot, before the Marcus Morris trial began he would’ve been the obvious choice, but now it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see veteran Aron Baynes find his way into the starting rotation.
Expectations for the Celtics have continued to rise every season since the Celtics traded for Isaiah Thomas in February 2015 and unexpectedly made a run to get into the playoffs. Ironically it was the same men that jumpstarted the Celtics rebuild, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, that Boston would use to help recruit Gordon Hayward and then send packing in trade for Kyrie Irving.
ESPN released their Basketball Power Index (BPI) Playoff Odds yesterday and the Celtics were projected to finish the regular season two games ahead of Cleveland for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston was also given a 12.7% chance to win the NBA Title, second only to Golden State’s 57.9%.
Expectations for this Celtics team are so high that it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see them stumble out of the gate before finding their footing and finishing the regular season strong. It is important for Celtics fans to remember that this team is returning only four players from last season and it will likely take time for the team to mesh and begin playing their best basketball.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Boston Celtics article is published, fill out our email notification form.