The Boston Celtics have had a productive offseason with their new General Manager Brad Stevens. These moves along with the development of their young core will propel the Celtics into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics were able to get rid of Kemba Walker and his terrible contract despite his horrible play. In return, they received Al Horford, a player who the Celtics are very familiar with and know how to utilize to their advantage. The Celtics were also able to get the defensive-minded guard Josh Richardson. Since Kemba Walker was not providing much offensive upside at the end of last season, he really just acted as a liability on defense. Richardson is an upgrade because he is much better defensively than Walker was offensively last season.
The Celtics also brought in Dennis Schröder on a one-year, $5.9 million deal. This is a steal for the Celtics as they get the former 6th man of the year candidate on a cheap deal. Schröder did not play his best in the playoffs last year with the Lakers but played a great supporting role to LeBron James and Anthony Davis throughout the regular season.
It has to be acknowledged that the Celtics got rid of Kemba Walker and could not resign Evan Fournier. This seems like it will hurt the Celtics, but in reality, will not have much impact on the team. Kemba was terrible as a third option in Boston because of how much he needs the ball to succeed. Fournier really was never going to have a chance to shine on this team being behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the scoring totem pole. It would not be worth it to pay Fournier to be the third or fourth option on the team. Not retaining Walker and Fournier was a sign that the Celtics are ready to build around their star players.
These great offseason acquisitions alone will propel the Celtics to the number one spot in the conference. However, if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to improve, this might be the perfect team built around them. Tatum has all of the tools to become an MVP in this league. He does not need much better stats ― he just needs more wins and for the media to push that storyline. Jaylen Brown can easily become a top-15 player if he is aggressive in calling his own number. Brown has the skillset but needs to know when it is his time to take over versus when to pass it off to his all-star teammate.
Brad Stevens made the correct offseason moves to prepare the Celtics simultaneously for the now and the future. If Tatum and Brown make the leap to super-stardom, winning is a great possibility.