10/11/23 by Mackenzie Bruno
The new look Boston Celtics are gearing up for the 2023-2024 NBA season with the preseason now underway.
The Celtics are 1-1 in their first two preseason games, winning their first against the Philadelphia 76ers and dropping the second against the New York Knicks. Boston rested their starters in their loss against the Knicks, but the first game against the 76ers was a good first go-around for the new starting five.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the Celtics preseason games so far is the dominant play of Payton Pritchard. He recently signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the Celtics after not getting much playing time in big games last season.
Pritchard went off for 26 points on 7-for-15 shooting in his first preseason game after signing his contract extension. The quick and crafty guard has gone on to score 47 points through the Celtics’ first two preseason games. Now a part of the long-term core of this group, Pritchard can feel secure and like a valued member of the organization after signing the extension. He will be an important piece off the bench for Boston and contribute to their immense depth.
Aside from Pritchard, other takeaways from the Celtics preseason games include the improvement on the defensive end and how elevated their roster is after the pickups of Kristaps Porziņģis and Jrue Holiday. Rookie wing Jordan Walsh showed flashes of his defensive prowess with his length and ability to generate steals. Paired with one of the league’s best defenders in Jrue Holiday as well as the size of Kristaps Porzingis, the Celtics have really elevated their defensive game.
The Celtics starting five will most likely be some variation of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porziņģis, Jrue Holiday, and either Derrick White or Al Horford. Their roster is a force to be recknoed with in the NBA. They are one of the top favorites to win the Eastern Conference and NBA championship.
With elite scoring, lockdown defense and rim protection, stellar ball movement, and knockdown shooting the Celtics could be well on their way to banner number 18.