This upcoming season is filling Boston Celtics fans to the brim with optimism and excitement, and rightfully so due to the stellar cast repping the infamous green.
But let’s put the championship No. 18 expectations on hold for a minute and look at what individual awards and achievements this cast could finish the season with.
To start with, here is the primary individual award that’s echoing in the minds of every Celtics fan.
Can Jayson Tatum Win MVP this season?
Tatum’s performances during the 2022-23 season were nothing short of spectacular, averaging an incredible 30 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG, showcasing his dominance on both ends of the court and firmly establishing himself as a contender in the MVP race.
Tatum’s dominance surpassed mere statistics as he showed the world that he is more than capable of being the most dominant player in the league, and this year, he will surely be more motivated than ever. Although he consistently demonstrated his elite capabilities, Joel Embiid managed to walk away with the award at the end of the 2022-23 season, only adding to the hunger that Tatum is surely determined to satisfy.
As we look ahead to the upcoming season, we have every reason to expect that Tatum will reach new heights. He’s not the kind of player to let a Finals loss, Eastern Conference Finals defeat, or a missed 2022-23 MVP award weigh him down – his mentality is too strong for that. In fact, I believe these setbacks will serve as fuel to his insatiable hunger for success in Boston.
The mindset I just described will play a pivotal role in both the collective and individual success of the team in the upcoming season. Couple that with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis and the abundance of talent already present within the Boston Celtics roster, the elements required for a highly successful regular season in Boston are in place. If Tatum can maintain his remarkable performance levels from last season and continue to deliver outstanding performances, the MVP award could find its way back to Boston.
This is a man whose utmost desire is to succeed.
Do you think Tatum can surpass the heights he reached last season and secure the prestigious MVP award? I truly believe he will be one of the frontrunners for the award next season and I can’t help but feel optimistic about his chances.
Do Boston Celtics have Defensive Player of the Year candidate after Marcus Smart trade?
The last Celtics player to win this award was Marcus Smart, recognized for his unrivaled grit and determination on the defensive end of the court during the 2021-22 season. Now Smart has departed from Boston, a question emerges; Do the Boston Celtics have a player who possesses the defensive capabilities to win the DPOY award? In my opinion, there are two players who stand the best chance of claiming this achievement next season.
The first player is someone who didn’t have the chance to consistently show his capabilities game in and game out last season, and that man is Robert Williams III. Having been extremely unlucky in the past with injuries, a healthy season is needed and if he can manage to stay healthy for the duration of the 2023-24 season, I’m sure everyone will be talking about his defensive impact.
Averaging 8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.4 BPG from 32 appearances and only 23.5 minutes per night, it’s easy to see that we didn’t seen the best version of Williams last season. If he can stay healthy, boast his defensive abilities, and dominate in the way we know he can, the DPOY award might be a genuine possibility for the fan-favorite big man.
The second player who springs to mind when talking about defense is a player who quickly became another fan-favorite last season, helped on by a certain game-winner in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Figured out who I’m talking about yet?
Of course, I’m talking about Derrick White who excelled far beyond some fans’ expectations and solidified himself as one of the premier defensive guards in the league.
White averaged an impressive 12.4 PPG, 3.9 APG, 3.6 RPG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.9 BPG last season, with the stand-out stat being the number of blocks he achieved as a six-foot-four guard.
If White can stay defensively consistent next season, he is sure to put his name into the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. Do you think White has what it takes to clinch this award from the plethora of defensive stars in the league?
I’m not sure, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities if the All-Defensive guard can keep playing at this level.
Will a Boston Celtics player win Sixth Man of the Year again?
I previously talked about this topic, but this was before the speculations began regarding Malcolm Brogdon’s place in Boston. If Brogdon does decide to continue playing in Boston Celtics green for the duration of the 2023-24 season, then the odds are looking good for the guard to repeat last season’s success.
If Brogdon isn’t a Celtic come the end of next season, then the question arises: Is there anyone else capable of performing to the same heights as Brogdon off the bench? The answer could depend on the consistency of the starting lineup. There are questions about who will be starting at the 4 and 5 positions next season with Horford, Porzingis, and Williams all capable of taking on a starting role. If one consistently comes off the bench next year, then they absolutely have the talent necessary to slot their names into the 6th Man of the Year contention.
So many question marks surrounding this area that it’s hard to make a prediction. Will Brogdon stay? Who will start at the 4 and 5? These questions will be answered eventually, but for now, I’m holding out hope that Brogdon will stay and therefore put himself in contention to win back-to-back 6th Man of the Year.
Can someone from the Boston Celtics step his game up enough to win Most Improved Player?
A multitude of Boston Celtics stepped up their game last season and performed exceptionally well, surpassing their previous seasons. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for further improvement.
Being mentioned for the second time is the Time Lord, who certainly has a case for winning Most Improved Player next year. With an injury-free season and improved minutes, nothing can get in the way of Boston’s defensive anchor improving his game to the extent of being mentioned as a contender for the award. Due to his limited playing time, his stats have plenty of room for improvement. And we all know how good Williams can be – and yes, I’m taking this chance to play more of his highlights.
As you can tell, my expectations for Williams in the event of an injury-free season are high, I genuinely believe he is a player capable of more than he has been able to show us so far during his injury-plagued career. Still only 25 years old, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Is a breakout year on the horizon for Williams?
How many Boston Celtics can make the 2024 All-NBA teams?
Boston boasted two All-NBA players with Jayson Tatum making the first team and Jaylen Brown making the second team following their exceptional 2022-23 season. This makes it two All-NBA First Team appearances and Tatum’s third overall as he made the Third team following the 2019-20 season. Brown making the second team this year was his first time making the All-NBA team, and it was rightfully deserved.
So the question beckons; Who from the Celtics will make the All-NBA teams next year?
I have to start by saying that, in my opinion, Tatum is surely a lock for the All-NBA team next year, and his talent showcased during the 2022-23 season speaks for itself and is justification for him being a lock. Another year of this magnitude will surely secure his place in one of the All-NBA teams next season; at a minimum.
Browns’ average of 26.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.1 SPG last season was enough to secure him a spot on the All-NBA second team whilst simultaneously securing himself the biggest contract in NBA history. Now sporting that $304 million dollar contract, Brown’s output on the court has to match the magnitude of his contract if he wants to make the selection next year.
As long as the pressure of living up to that contract doesn’t get in the way, this will be a huge year for Brown and I expect him to, like Tatum, be a lock for All-NBA next season.
A dark horse candidate for an All-NBA team spot next year is the Celtics’ new addition, Kristaps Porzingis, who undeniably possesses the potential to reach that elite level. With the additional talent that now surrounds Porzingis, his performances next season are sure the reach new heights. Despite not making an All-NBA team throughout his career thus far, his time in Boston appears to be his best opportunity.
The competition for All-NBA selection is undoubtedly fierce, making his chances seem slim, but his undeniable talent could certainly earn him a place while he’s in Boston.
If these 3 Celtics players made All-NBA, it would be the first time 3 players from the same team have made the selection since 2017 with Stephen Curry making the 2nd team, Kevin Durant also making the 2nd team, and Draymond Green making the Third Team. Tatum and Brown are locks for All-NBA, Porzingis is a dark horse contender, and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds.
Who from the Boston Celtics can make the NBA All-Defensive Team?
A familiar face in the NBA All-Defensive teams was former Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart, but with his departure during the off-season, only three current Boston stars have made the selection.
Al Horford, Williams, and White have all made the list in the last couple of years. Can any of these stars make it again?
It pains me to say it but I think Horford’s chances are slim. Even though he undoubtedly still possesses the ability to be a starter in the league, I don’t see him putting up defensive performances that merit a spot on the All-Defensive team next season.
Although I expect Horford to be a huge contributor to the success of the Boston Celtics next season, I don’t think it will be enough.
Now for a name that’s been echoed throughout this article and that name is Robert Williams, who got recognized for his defensive proficiency during the 2021-22 season by landing a spot in the All-Defensive second team. During that season he averaged a praiseworthy 10 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 2.2 BPG. Throughout that season, Williams averaged 29.6 minutes per game in 61 appearances compared to 23.5 minutes per game in 35 appearances he managed during the 2022-23 season. If Williams can play as much as he did during the 2021-22 season, then a place in the All-Defensive team is surely a possibility.
Derrick White proved the extent of his defensive skillset during the 2022-23 season, securing himself a place in the All-Defensive second-team by putting in a plethora of outstanding defensive performances.
All White has to do now is continue doing what he did best throughout the duration of last season — and that is to clamp up his opponents. Another year like that and his place in the All-Defensive team is surely a lock as he is already one of the best defensive guards in the league. Does White have what it takes to make the second team? Or even get Defensive Player of the Year? Stranger things have happened in the NBA.
Can Joe Mazzulla win Coach of the Year?
Last season Mike Brown won the award after taking the Sacramento Kings to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 – which is undeniably a hugely successful year for the Kings and Mike Brown. Joe Mazzulla narrowly missed out on the Coach of the Year award, finishing third in the voting after an exceptionally successful regular season with the Boston Celtics.
Mazzulla took over the Celtics head coach role only days before the season started due to issues that occurred with former head coach Ime Udoka, putting pressure on him from day one. Despite initial doubts about his appointment, Mazzulla silenced the critics by leading the Celtics to an impressive 57 regular season wins in his debut year.
Now, with offseason changes to the team, there’s a sense of optimism that things can only improve for Mazzulla and the boys from Beantown.
I think the Coach of the Year award is absolutely within reach for Mazzulla next year, he’s already proved he can lead the Celtics team to a second-seed regular season finish, an Eastern Conference Finals, and led Tatum and Brown to the best seasons of their career. The impact he is having on these players is evident:
I think the Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards are the least likely to occur, but still in the realm of possibility. The rest I have mentioned are absolutely possible, in fact, I’m feeling confident about them coming home to Boston. Can Tatum win MVP? Yes. Can Brogdon (if he stays) win 6th Man of the Year again? Yes. Can Tatum and Brown be named All-NBA? Yes. Can Porzingis? It’s possible. Can White and Williams make the All-Defensive teams? Absolutely. Can Joe Mazzulla win coach of the year? I think so.
As the anticipation for the season builds, I eagerly await the chance to see how these predictions unfold. Success seems well within reach for the Boston Celtics, both as a collective unit and on an individual level, and the forthcoming season promises to be an exciting journey.
I for one and expecting big things this season.