ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg put together a Celtics Summer Forecast in which he asked local writers/bloggers to make a series of predictions regarding the 2016-17 team. Here are my contributions for Week 3 (with links to the full articles):
What's the most intriguing game on the schedule?
October 27, at Chicago:
It's the first TNT game of the season and the whole country will be watching. Not only that, but it's also the debut of the new Dwyane Wade (and Rajon Rondo!) Bulls. Plus, Boston will be tested with the second night of a back-to-back on the road right out of the gates, a situation it has excelled in under [Brad] Stevens. Assuming the Celtics handle Brooklyn in their opener, this will be a chance to immediately establish themselves as one of the East's elite.
What will be the biggest story of training camp?
Danny Ainge trying to avoid cutting anyone:
If [Abdel] Nader is there (meaning he didn't agree to a D-League contract), he'll either need to make the 15-man roster or be cut or traded. The same is already true for [Ben] Bentil and his partially guaranteed deal. In addition to those two, [James] Young and [RJ] Hunter will likely be fighting for the final spot on the team. Assuming Nader does sign with Maine in the D-League and Hunter wins the battle for 15th man, Ainge will have to find trade partners for Young and Bentil or release them outright -- something you know he doesn't want to do.
I also wrote about the Abdel Nader conundrum for CelticsLife.
What are you most concerned about wih the 2016-17 squad?
What if (Evan Turner + Jared Sullinger > Al Horford)?:
Sullinger was the Celtics' leading rebounder last year at 8.3 per game, even though he only logged 23.6 minutes a night. Before Isaiah Thomas' arrival in Boston, there were times when Sully was arguably the team's best player. Turner was the backup point guard and the only guy besides Thomas who could create his own shot in crunch time. What if the loss of Sullinger and Turner is a bigger deal than we expect? Is it possible the addition of Horford won't make up the difference? Rebounding is at the heart of this concern. Horford pulled down just 7.3 boards per contest last season, despite averaging 8.5 more minutes than Sullinger.
What postseason award might a Celtic win?
Stevens, Coach of the Year:
[Steve] Kerr isn't going to get it again unless the Durant Warriors win 74 games (not happening). [Ty] Lue? Come on, LeBron James is the real coach of the Cavs. Gregg Popovich? Tim Duncan may have been the Tom Brady to his Bill Belichick. Quin Snyder could be a trendy pick if the Jazz make some noise out West, but if Stevens guides Boston to 50-plus wins and the East's No. 2 seed, he should have as good a case as anyone.