The Boston Celtics have provided a snippet of what’s in store for the 2023-24 season, kicking off preseason play with three contests in the books.
With Jaylen Brown signed, a few blockbuster additions healthy and ready, plus an upgraded staff to support head coach Joe Mazzulla, the Celtics are once again keeping the bar raised.
Their championship window remains wide open, and this latest Jayson Tatum-Brown tandem campaign might just be the most anticipated, and that’s not just because of Boston’s inexcusable playoff exit last season.
There’s plenty to look forward to throughout Boston’s upcoming chase for Banner 18, and so far, the preseason has proven just that.
Here are three totally abrupt (but fair) Celtics-related reactions with less than two weeks before Opening Night 25 against the New York Knicks:
Kristaps Porzingis will be a game-changing fit in Boston
The Celtics had a number of issues needing to be addressed when initially entering the offseason, and Kristaps Porzingis checks several boxes.
Several much-needed boxes.
Forgotten in the past, the unicorn days of New York Knicks Porzingis came to life at several points thus far. Whether it’d be the shooting, rebounding or ability to push the floor in transition, there’s too much to be excited about. Porzingis, albeit while struggling with an unfavorable injury-prone reputation, has a rare skill package that not many fives in the NBA do.
That, meshed with Tatum and Brown, could make for something the Celtics haven’t seen since their All-Star duo was assembled in 2018.
The health factor remains a pending one in play, but Porzingis made the right move by passing up on FIBA play during the summer.
So far, whatever foot injury the 7-foot-3 veteran was recovering from ahead of training camp, seems fully healed based on what Porzingis has shown.
Payton Pritchard’s coming different in Year No. 4, isn’t he?
We all should’ve seen this coming, right?
Again, yes, it’s early. Yes, preseason action only means so much. And yes, the defense will turn up a notch or two as soon as the regular season officially kicks off. But… Pritchard definitely doesn’t look the same as last season.
The confidence is in place, perhaps a result of signing a $30 million dollar contract extension some would imagine.
But regardless of the source, a comfortable Pritchard is already proving to be effective — and that’s keyWith Malcolm Brogdon gone, the reserve unit needs a go-to guard to run the floor. This is the golden opportunity that wasn’t feasible last season, but now gives Pritchard an outlet to absolutely ball out and prove himself.
The undersized sharpshooter has totaled 64 points through three games, shooting 52.3% from the field and 41.9% from 3-point territory. If a production level alike carries its way into the regular season, Pritchard’s extension will only age better.
Oshae Brissett is what the Celtics have tried to draft
When the Celtics signed Oshae Brissett, presumably to play a depth-enhancing role, both sides were understood.
However, what’s come as a surprise is how much Brissett’s guard athleticism can translate, something that hasn’t been the case with past Celtics draft selections like Romeo Langford and JD Davison.
During the preseason opener against the 76ers, Brissett nearly completed an unreal putback dunk over Philadelphia’s David Duke. It was ruled no good due to a debatable over-the-back call from the officials, but the point still stands; Brissett’s potential isn’t just good for the postgame highlights, it could also play a key in keeping possessions alive and boosting the reserve units overall grit and intensity — a must-have for any Celtics team.