At the suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Boston Celtics boasted a 43-21 record which is 5th in the NBA and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are one of 3 teams tipped to make it to the NBA finals out of the East and are top contenders to give the Bucks a challenge for the conference championship. Boston’s two young stars, Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, have taken a massive step forward in their development with Tatum making his first all-star team and Brown barely missing out. Tatum has increased his numbers in most stats and become arguably the best option on the team, especially in the second half of the season. New addition to the team, Kemba Walker has been the stable veteran leader that this team has lacked in past years and was one of the team’s 2 all-stars. The Celtics look to make a run at the championship for the next several years with their current roster to remain mostly intact.
Currently, the Boston Celtics have 11 players with guaranteed contract for next season. They have 3 players with options. Semi Ojeleye had a $1.7 million team option which is expected to be picked up. Gordon Hayward also is expected to opt in to his $34 million player option for next season, especially in light of the pandemic’s potential effects on the salary cap. Enes Kanter has a $5 million player option which I expect him to opt out of. This would make him one of the better centers available in the weak free agent class this year and would give him an opportunity to gain a starting spot on another team on a more lucrative contract. Brad Wanamaker is expected to be offered the qualifying offer as well as fan-favourite, Tacko Fall. The Celtics will have a $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level exception available to them as well.
The Celtics are not going to be major players in the 2020 free agency as they have no cap space at their disposal. The only expectations are for them to bring back Tacko Fall and Brad Wanamaker on the qualifying offers. They do have a taxpayer mid-level exception to use but I cannot see any real benefit of them using this extra cap. The Celtics are also in a good position already when it comes to having depth at every position so there is no real incentive for them to go after any free agents when they can grow and develop what they already have within the organisation.
Depth Chart –
The Celtics have 3 first round picks in the 2020 draft. They receive the 17th projected pick from Memphis, the 26th projected pick, and the 30th projected prick from Milwaukee. As this is projected to be a weaker draft class, the Celtics do not look to draft a superstar but can make a few valuable picks to develop and come off the bench.
At the 17th projected pick, the Celtics should pick Theo Maledon, a 6’5” point guard from France. Maledon is a very well-built, explosive guard with great acceleration. He is likened to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from OKC who is making a name for himself. Maledon has great size and length for the point guard position and could come in handy off the bench should the Celtics not retain current backup, Brad Wanamaker.
At the 26th projected pick, the Celtics can take Vernon Carey Jr, a 6’10” center out of Duke. Carey is a well built, powerful player who is very athletic for his size. He is a skilled player in the post and is good on his feet. Carey is also an excellent rebounder and would help boost the team’s interior defence. He can be a strong player off the bench for Boston and should help fill the space potentially left by Enes Kanter.
At the 30th projected pick, there is no specific need for the team and no standout player that should be still available so Boston should just look to draft the best available player to add to the team or send to the g-league. Alternatively, the team could look to trade this pick for a future first or a couple of future second round picks.
The Boston Celtics will enter the offseason with low expectations as they are limited by the salary cap and the number of players they already have guaranteed to contracts. The most likely outcome is that they will run the team back minus a few bench players like Enes Kanter and potentially Brad Wanamaker, and with the addition of rookies such as Theo Maledon and Vernon Carey Jr. They will be a team with great depth that will likely make another run at the championship and project to be one of the top teams in the eastern conference for years to come as they continue to develop their young due of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Projected Depth Chart 2020/21 Season –