Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Boston Celtics optimism not unfounded

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
BROOKLYN, NY – NOVEMBER 14: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Jayson Tatum #0 and Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics in action against Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on November 14, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Celtics defeated the Nets 109-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

2017-18 Vitals

55-27, second in Eastern Conference
Defeated Milwaukee in first round, 4-3
Defeated Philadelphia in second round, 4-1
Lost to Cleveland in conference finals, 4-3
104.0 PPG (20th), 100.4 OPPG (3rd)
107.6 Offensive Rating (18th), 103.9 Defensive Rating (1st)

Team Leaders (minimum 42 games/82 made 3-pointers)
Scoring: Kyrie Irving 24.4 PPG
Rebounding: Al Horford 7.4 RPG
Assists: Kyrie Irving 5.1 APG
Steals: Marcus Smart 1.3 SPG
Blocks: Al Horford 1.1 BPG
3-point shooting: Jayson Tatum 43.4 pct.


  • Al Horford (All-Defensive 2nd Team, All-Star Game)
  • Jayson Tatum (All-Rookie 1st Team)
  • Kyrie Irving (All-Star Game)

2018-19 Roster

Aron Baynes, C
Justin Bibbs, G
Jabari Bird, G
Jaylen Brown, F-G
PJ Dozier, G (two-way)
Gordon Hayward, F-G
Al Horford, C-F
Kyrie Irving, G
Nick King, F
Walt Lemon, Jr., G (two-way)
Marcus Morris, F
Semi Ojeleye, F
Jeff Roberson, F
Terry Rozier, G
Marcus Smart, G
Jayson Tatum, F
Daniel Theis, C
Brad Wanamaker, G
Robert Williams, F
Guerschon Yabusele, F

Offseason Additions
Robert Williams (draft), Brad Wanamaker (free agent, Turkish club Fenerbahce Ulker, July 2), Walt Lemon, Jr. (street free agent, two-way, July 25), PJ Dozier (free agent, Oklahoma City, two-way, Aug. 20), Jeff Roberson (undrafted free agent, Sept. 4), Nick King (undrafted free agent, Sept. 4), Justin Bibbs (undrafted free agent, Sept. 4).

Offseason Departures
Jonathan Gibson (free agent), Shane Larkin (free agent, signed with Turkish club Anadolu Efes), Kadeem Allen (ended two-way contract, July 15), Greg Monroe (free agent, Toronto, Aug. 10), Abdel Nader (trade, Oklahoma City, July 23).

Also See

Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Chicago Bulls
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Washington Wizards
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Indiana Pacers
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Cleveland Cavaliers
Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Scanning the East — Philadelphia 76ers

Projected depth chart

C: Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis
PF: Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele, Robert Williams
SF: Gordon Hayward, Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird
SG: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker
PG: Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier


The Celtics have a lot — terrific starting unit, perhaps the deepest roster in the NBA — and might be one of the few teams in the league capable of competing with the defending champion Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series.

Brad Stevens continues to build a reputation as an elite NBA coach who gets more out of his players than expected, with evidence piling up around the league of players who leave Boston and take a step backward in production.

The Celtics have gone to two straight Eastern Conference Finals, losing both to the Cleveland LeBrons, and have to be chomping at the bit for a chance to enter the postseason without LeBron James in the way.

And, it’s worth noting again: The Celtics pushed Cleveland to Game 7 of the conference finals despite getting a combined zero minutes from All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in the postseason.

If that doesn’t speak to both Stevens’ ability as a coach and the Celtics’ depth, nothing does.

The one thing Boston won’t have on its side this time around, assuming they stay healthy, is the element of surprise. No one thought the Celtics could make a deep playoff run once Irving went down late last season, but everyone is looking for Boston to go deep in the postseason in 2019.

The biggest question the Celtics face entering the season could be that great depth, however. Boston has rotation-worthy players up and down the roster with only so many minutes to allocate to them.

It is said winning cures all, but how long will young potential stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown be content to be backup singers to the headline trio of Irving, Hayward and Al Horford?

Hayward has three years remaining on his contract (the third year is a player option), Horford has two years left on his deal (with a player option for 2019-20) and Irving, thought to be a near-lock to opt out of his final year, is now making sounds as if he wants to stay in Boston for the long haul.

Next. 25 greatest individual games in Nets history. dark

If the Celtics are as good as advertised in 2018-19, those questions may get pushed aside for awhile. But it’s a situation that bears watching down the line.

Projected record: 57-25