Boston Celtics: Defense
Boston has had quite a busy offseason. From acquiring former Knick Kristaps Porzingis in a three-team trade to signing Jaylen Brown to a five-year, $304 million extension, the Celtics are trying to go all-in on winning a championship.
Boston is predicted to sit atop the Eastern Conference, but it’ll be easier said than done for a few reasons. Porzingis is an upgrade. However, it’s tough to bank on the seven-foot-three center to be healthy for an entire season. He played 65 games for Washington in 2022-23, but that was the most he’s played since his 66 contests in 2016-17, his second season in New York.
When healthy, Porzingis will help space the floor for Boston and protect the rim to bolster the defense. The keywords are when healthy, though.
There’s also the losses of Marcus Smart and Grant Williams. The former was a leader in the locker room and wouldn’t hesitate to put his body on the floor (even if it was a flop), while the latter was heralded as Boston’s glue guy. Smart and Williams might not be missed on the offensive end, but their absence will be felt on defense.
The Celtics have the best duo in the league in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but even they’ve had their shortcomings. The saying is defense wins championships for a reason, and Boston’s path to a title won’t be without its challenges, especially after losing Smart and Williams.