Probably one of the biggest surprises last season was the Boston Celtics making it all the way to the post-season after a sputter-y start. The Celts were a miserable 16-29 through January but made it up with a 24-13 finish, good for a 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The midseason trade that involved Isaiah Thomas was the undeniable catalyst, creating a menacing backcourt that coach Brad Stevens like to unleash on the opposition. However, interior play was sorely lacking which led to an early exit by the hands of the eventual conference champions Cleveland Cavaliers.
That was about to change.
The Celtics acquired David Lee of the Golden State Warriors for practically nothing, giving them an interior scoring threat alongside Jared Sullinger. That may simply be a step to the right direction but the Celtics now looks like a legit playoff contender and a multiple-option squad for your fantasy basketball team.
Breakout Candidate: David Lee
Draymond Green supplanted Lee as the Warriors’ starting power forward for a number of reasons. One, Lee is hurt and two, they need a defensive presence alongside their gunners. Green fits in Golden State but Lee’s skill set could fit anywhere, especially on a team devoid of consistent interior scorers. If everything goes right, get used to see the double-double David Lee.
Bust Candidate: Marcus Smart
There were reports that GM Danny Ainge dangled Marcus Smart and his plethora of draft picks to move up to the draft. While anything did not materialize, it seems clear the Celtics view Smart as someone expendable. If you’re looking for playing time amidst Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, and Isaiah Thomas, all who have clearly-defined roles within coach Stevens’ system, there’s not much you can do about it.
Deep-League Sleeper: Jae Crowder
Any team could use an energy guy like Crowder and coach Stevens seem to genuinely like what he brings to the table. The dreadlocked forward can play both forward spots (a plus in fantasy basketball), can shoot the 3, and contributes all over the floor–from defense to the occasional 3.
In 24 minutes and 57 contests with Boston last season, Crowder has shot 50% from the field while grabbing almost 5 rebounds, dishing 1.4 assists, and registering a steal per game.
Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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