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 1 (with links to the full articles):
What will the Celtics record be, and how far will they go in the playoffs?
49-33, East Semifinals:
Conference finals or bust seems to be the mantra within Celtics Nation right now and, while it's definitely a reasonable possibility, I'm not sure it's the most likely scenario for this squad. Making the leap from "good" to "elite" is a lot harder to do than improving from "mediocre" to "good." [Al] Horford was the Hawks' third-leading scorer (13.4 PPG) during last year's postseason, so it's not fair to expect him to be the crunch-time guy who carries Boston this season.
(I also wrote an expanded explanation of my though process here on CelticsLife.com: Celtics may be favorites for No. 2 in East, but let's not put them in Conference Finals just yet)
Who will get the final two roster spots? (Options: Ben Bentil, RJ Hunter, James Young, John Holland, Demetrius Jackson, other)
My heart wants to go with [Abdel] Nader, but with 18 contracts already on the books, I don't see it happening. In his final pre-draft big board, Insider's Chad Ford had Jackson ranked 26th with a chance to go in the lottery to Chicago at No. 14. Along with his freshly guaranteed deal, Jackson is on the team. I liked the fire Hunter showed in his summer-league matchup with Booker, although I don't actually think he's done much to prove he's better than Young. We're all just one year less soured on Hunter; Unfortunately, that counts for something.
Who will start in the frontcourt alongside Al Horford? (Options: Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller)
Crowder will definitely see time as a small-ball power forward, but [Brad] Stevens isn't going to begin games that way. I expect both Olynyk and Johnson to make their fair share of starts. Olynyk was the best 3-point shooter on the squad last year, but he's not much a rebounder. Horford averaged only 7.3 boards per game last season, so he's going to need some help. With [Jared] Sullinger gone, Johnson is the best option.
Which young guy will have the biggest impact? (Options: Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Jaylen Brown, Demetrius Jackson)
This is a two-man race between Rozier and Brown. The question is, which one will get more time on the floor? Both players' 2016-17 stock probably fell a bit with the [Gerald] Green signing. As great as Rozier was last month in Utah and Las Vegas, it was still just summer league. He did earn Stevens' confidence in last year's postseason, so Rozier will probably get more burn than Brown out of the gate. However, by the end of the season I like the No. 3 pick's chances to have the greater impact of the two.