I hate pre-season power rankings and previews, but some are so thorough and so widely-disseminated and discussed that they at least deserve mention here. Among those are John Hollinger’s previews, and Mr. Hollinger released his Eastern Conference forecast today.
He’s got the Celtics finishing third in the East at 58-24. Relevant snippet:
Plotting expectations for the Celtics this year depends first on what one expects from Garnett. If he’s fully healthy and can resume playing with his usual ferocity, then it’s pretty easy to project Boston returning to its standing among the East’s elite and rivaling Orlando and Cleveland for the conference championship. In that scenario, the addition of Wallace is pure gravy and the age concerns are softened by what appears to be superior depth.
He goes on to state the downside of this “if, but” analysis, and we all know how that goes by now. Ahead of Boston: Cleveland (projected 63-19) and Orlando (projected 62-20).