The Boston Celtics made their fifth Eastern Conference Finals in seven seasons last year.
Had Jayson Tatum not turned his ankle in their Game 7 matchup with the Miami Heat, the Celtics could well have made back-to-back NBA Finals appearances.
That wasn't quite enough for General Manager Brad Stevens, who made several big moves during this offseason.
Boston inked the first of two major extensions for stars Jaylen Brown and Tatum and made some ambitious moves to surround them with talent. It's placed them among the top sides in the NBA, but a lack of depth could be their downfall.
The Boston Celtics finished second in the Eastern Conference last season with a 57-25 record.
They dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the postseason, eliminating them in six games. They edged a back-and-forth series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a Game 7 win in the second round.
The Celtics were shell-shocked by the 8-seed Miami Heat in the Conference Finals, falling 3-0 down to the underdogs. The Celtics won the next three games to force Game 7, but they fell short of becoming the first side in NBA history to overturn a 3-0 deficit.
|2022/23 Boston Celtics
|Result: Lost Eastern Conference Finals vs. MIA Heat
|To win the 2023/24 NBA Championship:
|To win the 2023/24 Eastern Conference:
Kristaps Porzingis (F/C) Washington Wizards
Jrue Holiday (G) Portland Trail Blazers
Dalano Banton (G) Toronto Raptors
Oshae Brissett (F) Indiana Pacers
Neemias Queta (C) Sacramento Kings
Jordan Walsh (F) Draft
Jay Scrubb (G) Orlando Magic
Svi Mykhailiuk (G) Charlotte Hornets
Marcus Smart (G) Memphis Grizzlies
Malcolm Brogdon (G) Portland Trail Blazers
Robert Williams III (C) Portland Trail Blazers
Grant Williams (F) Dallas Mavericks
Justin Champagnie (G) Miami Heat
The Celtics' first two games of the 2023/24 season consist of a visit to the New York Knicks on Oct. 25, then an Eastern Conference Finals rematch against the Miami Heat in Boston on Oct. 27.
Boston plays their division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors, twice each in November. They face the Sixers on Nov. 8 and Nov. 15, both times in Philadelphia, and they take on the Raptors in Boston on Nov. 11 and in Toronto on Nov. 17.
Their first matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks in a possible 2023/24 Eastern Conference Finals preview is on Nov. 22.
This summer marks a huge change for the Celtics, who have traded away three of the top six players in their rotation. Marcus Smart - a key part of their core and the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year - was moved in order to acquire Kristaps Porzingis.
Having lost a key defender from their backcourt, the Celtics went out and replaced him with Jrue Holiday. The former NBA champion had just been moved to Portland by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Damian Lillard trade.
Adding Holiday and Porzingis makes the Celtics team older, their depth thinner and their roster even more expensive. However, the talent at the top of their rotation is unquestionable, although it will require some changes to their approach.
The Celtics ran an impressive switch defense in their run to the 2022 Finals. That won't be possible with Porzingis on their side, but the ex-Wizard is among the best shooting bigs in the league and he should fully lean into Joe Mazzulla's three-point-heavy offense.
With the Bucks getting stronger, Boston had to make a big move in order to match up. After acquiring Holiday, the Celtics were moved in line with Milwaukee, with the pair joint-favorites to make it out of the East at +150.
The Celtics are +400 for the title so they're expected to be in the mix with a deep postseason run. Another Conference Finals will be expected, with many neutrals hoping to see a Bucks-Celtics showdown.