Season Goal: Win the East
After falling one game short of the NBA Finals, the Celtics have to be excited to get another chance. Despite losing Hayward and Irving to injury before the playoffs, the Celtics managed to make an incredible run and challenge Lebron for the Eastern Conference throne. This year, with Lebron in the West, there is no doubt Boston believes they should win. The Raptors and 76ers will be strong opponents, but the Celtics’ depth and versatility will likely push them ahead. If they don’t get struck with injuries once again, Boston will be representing the East in the Finals.
In what will likely be Rozier’s final season as a Boston Celtic, it’s still interesting to take a deeper look at his breakout season. Despite his ability to put up big performances, such as his career-best 33 point outing, Rozier was surprisingly inefficient this season. Most fans remember his 3 point struggles against the Cavaliers in game 7 where he shot 0-10 from behind the arc. While this was a tough moment is Rozier’s young career his inefficiencies were usually not from three. This year he shot a career-best 38% but shot only 41% from inside the arc. Everybody was so wowed by his big performances that they largely overlooked his poor shooting. On a team that already has 5 great scorers in Irving, Hayward, Tatum, Brown, and Horford they don’t need Rozier’s volume scoring mentality.
This doesn’t mean he is a bad player at all. It just seems other teams would value him more than the Celtics do. They also failed to agree on a contract extension, making it more likely he will be traded before the deadline. Every team was able to see what he could do with a larger offensive role, and given that certain playoff teams such as the Pacers need a starting point guard who can spark their offense, the Celtics could get a hefty return. It’s very likely if they wait until the offseason some team will give Rozier a big contract and the Celtics would lose him for nothing. They already need to resign Irving this offseason and will be paying Horford and Hayward over $30M, making it impossible for them to add another big contract to their payroll. As fun as he is to watch, Rozier will likely only have half a season left as a Celtic.
SF: Gordon Hayward
Salary Cap Situation:
~128M of ~101M cap committed
Expiring Deals: Kyrie Irving (PO), Terry Rozier (RFA), Aron Baynes (PO), Al Horford (PO), Marcus Morris, Daniel Theis
Bad Contracts: Gordon Hayward (3 yrs, $97M)
*All salary data via sportrac*