Give Celtics fans this: They're an optimistic bunch. While no member of our Summer Forecast panel predicted Boston to make the playoffs during the 2014-15 season, that didn't stop 27 percent of our fan responders from suggesting that the Celtics could be playing beyond mid-April next season.
Fans was given four options: (1) Deep playoff run (i.e., second round or beyond); (2) Early playoff exit (first-round loss); (3) Competitive, but miss playoffs (finish in spots 9-12 in East); or (4) Tankville (bottom three in East).
A look at how fans voted:
And here's a handful of notable responses:
Lenny (Deep playoff run)
A mid-season trade spurs the Celtics to one of the final playoff spots to the East. Playoff Rondo leads the Celtics to a round 1 upset and a max contract next summer. Celtics get booted from the playoffs in Round 2.
James (Deep playoff run)
I'm not sure the Celtics can make it to the Eastern Conference finals (Jeff Green would need to go for that to have any chance of happening), but I can see a good playoff run. Gaining playoff experience for the younger players is critical now if they're going to be leaders in the East just behind Cleveland by 2016 and beyond.
@MikeNelligan (Deep playoff run)
Celtics will get sixth seed in a weak East, thus avoiding Cleveland/Chicago. The power of the "No One Believes In Us" mindset will carry the Celts through the first round.
Scott (Early playoff exit)
Boston will make it to the playoffs, but just barley and only because the East is so weak. If Boston were in the West, I would say they have an alright team but wouldn't make the playoffs. Boston will have a good season with its ups and downs. It will all be a learning experience for Brad Stevens and the younger players. There is a lot of questions to be answered: Will Zeller be a dominant force in the paint, will he be able to play alongside Sullinger? How will Rondo fare the season before his free agency, and will he be traded? I think the C's will keep Rondo around and try to build with him more than they already have. Having Marcus Smart and Phil Pressey learn to pass from one of the best passers to play the game coupled with their defensive/scoring capabilities, it might do wonders for the organization.
Niko (Early playoff exit)
I think a few games below .500 gets you in the playoffs in the East -- most likely the eighth seed and a first-round loss to the Cavaliers. Not sure exactly how season ends, but pretty sure Brad Stevens will have us overachieving regardless.
David (Early playoff exit)
The C's will be a No. 8 seed but lose to the Cavaliers in 6 games. Rondo will ultimately stay because the young talent develops to a point he feels we could be competitive again soon.
After selling off any player of value, Danny Ainge will sell the naming rights to the Garden to Mark Cuban, who will, shortly before the season premiere of Shark Tank, rename the Garden "Tankville".
Tommy Heinsohn will be catatonic by game 8 and will probably ask to suit up.
This is more of a hope than anything else. Of course I would prefer a deep playoff run, but, as a basketball fan, I have to be realistic here. We are filled with guys who would be perfect 7-9 guys off the bench. We don't have a No. 1 option. We have too many guards, and even our solid players are too young to be dependable just yet. And I love Rondo, but his impending free agency is devouring all other Boston stories until that gets figured out.
Milwaukee and Philadelphia are locks for Tankville. The Celtics and Magic will duke it out to finish 12th or 13th. Wildcard: Complete collapse of the Brooklyn Nets.
The 2014-15 season sees Rajon Rondo traded at or near the deadline and Marcus Smart assuming the reigns as point guard of the future.