This article is part of our NBA Team Previews series.
Coming off an NBA Finals appearance, the Celtics didn’t stand pat in the offseason. They quickly upgraded their bench and playmaking skills with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon. Boston also added Danilo Gallinari, but he is probably lost for the season due to a torn ACL suffered during EuroBasket 2022. The Celtics will again be led by stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
2021-22 Record: 51-31; Lost NBA Finals (2-4) to Warriors
2022-23 NBA Win Total Odds: 54.5 wins (DraftKings)

NBA Title Odds: +550 (DraftKings)  (the favorite as of Sept. 8th)
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Check out our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Rankings, which includes fantasy basketball projections for every player.
Jayson Tatum
Tatum returns to the Celtics after an All-NBA First Team season in 2021-22. The three-time All-Star is the unquestioned scoring leader for Boston. The durable star forward set career highs last season in points (26.9), rebounds (8.0), assists (4.4) and made three-pointers (3.0) per game. At only age 24, we see no reason for Tatum to slow down. Tatum also played a career-high 35.9 minutes per game last season, which might be the one stat Boston would like to curtail. With Malcolm Brogdon now in the fold, plus a full season of Derrick White, coach Ime Udoka is provided with more small-ball options that allow Tatum and veteran Al Horford to get a tad more rest. Otherwise, all systems should be go for Tatum and a Celtics squad with championship aspirations. Few players rank in the Top 12 of fantasy points per game while also shooting 45-plus percent from the field and 85-plus percent from the charity stripe. Oh, did we mention durability? Tatum has averaged only five missed games per season over his five-year NBA career.

During Boston’s playoff run to the NBA Finals, it was often Jaylen Brown, and not Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics. That said, both stars struggled with turnovers during the team’s playoff success, demonstrating the need for Boston to acquire more playmaking skills. Enter Malcolm Brogdon,
who should provide plenty of backcourt relief for both Marcus Smart and Brown. The addition might cause Brown’s assists and turnovers to decline while opening up more easy scoring opportunities for the 2020-21 All-Star. With Brogdon and deadline acquisition Derrick White both in Boston for a full season, Brown might finally be able to play fewer than 33 minutes per game – something that hasn’t happened since 2018-19. Deep rosters are great for playoff runs but difficult for fantasy. In Brown’s favor is coach Ime Udoka’s preference for shallow rotations. At only 26 years of age come October, Brown still has upside and will be eager to return to the All-Star game after missing it last season. Look for continued production across the board from Brown in 2022-23. How many other ballers can provide 23-plus points, 6-plus rebounds, 2.5 made treys, 47-plus percent shooting and 1.1 steals per contest? 
Robert Williams
After three modest seasons in Boston, Robert “Time Lord” Williams finally broke out in 2021-22. The human pogo stick exploded for 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game last season – all career highs. Williams’ 134 total blocks were good for third in the Association. He also started all 61 games in which he appeared and added 2.0 dimes per contest while shooting a delightful 73.6 percent from the field. Add respectable free throw shooting, and Williams ranked 24th overall in nine-category rotisserie leagues. With Daniel Theis now in Indiana, the Time Lord could see a slight bump in the 29.6 minutes per contest he played last season. Considering fellow big Al Horford is 36 years old, the C’s seem thin at the four and five. There is room for improvement as Williams enters his age 25 season. Hopefully, the shot blocker can avoid the injury issues that plagued him in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Marcus Smart
The 2021-22 season marked the first year Boston let Smart be its primary point guard. For the most part, the results were positive. Smart won Defensive Player of the Year, dished a career-high 5.9 assists per game and helped the C’s reach the NBA Finals. But when the season ended, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens admitted the team needed more playmaking. Stevens then traded for veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon, who also averaged 5.9 dimes per contest last year. Brogdon is expected to play a sixth-man role, backing up Smart and Jaylen Brown. With Brogdon, plus a full season of Derrick White, Boston is deeper in the backcourt than they have been recently. Smart might finally be able to play fewer than 32 minutes per game – something that hasn’t happened since 2018-19. It should also be noted that the veteran guard has improved his shooting from “worrisome” to “almost adequate”. Last season, Smart shot better than 41 percent from the field, something he’s only done twice in his eight-year career. That shooting is much tolerable when one remembers the DPOY can guard positions one through four, snag 1.7 steals and hit 1.7 triples per game. Look for Smart to continue as Boston’s primary point guard while deferring to stars Brown and Jayson Tatum on the offensive end.
Al Horford
After being rested by OKC for the second half of the 2020-21 season, Big Al returned to Boston and generated 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 blocks over 29.1 minutes per game. Yes, Robert Williams is the more dynamic big in Boston, but Horford provides the steady day-to-day production down low that the Celtics crave. And with Daniel Theis now in Indiana, Boston might lean on Horford and Williams even more. Understandably, it was reported in July that Horford is expected to face multiple workload restrictions in 2022-23. Look for the veteran to miss the second of most back-to-backs. Plus, while Horford will still start, Boston would love for him to play fewer minutes per game and be fresh for the playoffs. Coach Ime Udoke will probably experiment with multiple small-ball lineups to keep Horford fresh.
Malcolm Brogdon
After three injury-riddled seasons in Indiana, the Pacers dealt Brogdon this summer as part of their rebuild. The return haul for Indy was modest, probably because Brogdon averaged only 49 games played per season as a Pacer. Last season, the versatile guard missed 40 of Indiana’s last 50 games due to back issues and Indiana’s tank-mode tactics. That said, Brogdon started every game he played and averaged 33.5 minutes per contest. And he’s not far removed from the 2020-21 season where he averaged career-highs in points (21.2), rebounds (5.3) and made three-pointers (2.6) per contest. In addition to his injury woes, Brogdon is expected to come off the bench for Boston this season. The Celtics’ starting five was dominant during the second half of last season’s NBA Finals run. The C’s would be foolish to mess with the lineup, and Brogdon stated in his first Celtics press conference that he’s willing to “sacrifice” to win. A sixth-man role is forthcoming – this team is deep. After Boston was eliminated in the Finals, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens made it clear the team was looking for more playmaking. Brogdon’s career average of 4.8 dimes per game certainly meets that need. But his scoring and outside shooting make him an excellent reserve on the wing, as well. At 6-foot-5, Brogdon provides the defensive flexibility required for Boston’s switching defense, which should keep him on the floor. All in all, expect Brogdon to see a dip in minutes per game while he attempts to play 70-plus games, a feat he hasn’t reached since his ROY season in 2016-17.
Click here to take a look at the Celtics’ full depth chart
Anything short of an NBA Championship will seem like a failure for Boston. Brogdon adds crunch-time playmaking skills that will allow Marcus Smart to focus on ferocious defense. Look for the C’s to rest Horford often, with an eye towards playoff production. The off-season Gallinari injury is a concern, as front-court depth seems to be their biggest concern. Still, Boston enters the season as favorites to earn that 18th banner, despite the Eastern Conference getting stronger.
Record Prediction
Bold Call
Robert Williams finishes the season as a Top 12 fantasy player (9-category, full-season stats). Williams has matured from a reckless youngster to savvy big who knows his role. With Daniel Theis gone and Al Horford needing rest, Williams could improve on last season’s 29.6 minutes per game. And his free throw percentage will continue to improve, after a 10-point increase last year.
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