It is really funny to look back at what I predicted way back on October 5, 2007 for the then-upcoming NBA season. To recap one of the greatest seasons in Celtics history, I find it necessary to turn back to that initial preview and find out how bad I was at my guesses. Don’t worry, Sports of Boston will work on season reviews for each individual player as well, but I find it fitting to recap the season to kick off our coverage.
What went right in the 2007-08 season for the Celtics?
- The Celtics finished with the best record in the NBA at 66-16.
- They won the NBA Finals over the rejuvenated-rival Los Angeles Lakers 4-2.
- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen were all named all-stars and Doc Rivers coached the squad.
What went wrong?
- The father of Doc Rivers passed away and did not see his son win that elusive ring.
- Midseason acquisition Sam Cassell had trouble living up to his billing as backup PG to Rajon Rondo.
- All games during the NBA Finals were on nights before most of America had to work…(AKA not much went wrong in a dream season).
Eastern Conference Pre-season Predictions: (in BOLD are teams that appeared as any seed in the playoffs…It’s hard to predict exactly where every team would fall…so here we go)
- OK, I had some trouble here. Miami was the worst team in the NBA and not a 44-win team. It’s very hard to predict that Shaq was going to be injured all year then traded, and that Dwayne Wade would sit out the second part of the season to rest his sore body.
- Chicago was also a very, very bad team that definitely did not live up to their billing as a potential Eastern Conference heavyweight.
- As far as New Jersey goes…I guess Jason Kidd and Vince Carter could only go so far together on the same team. It’s hard to predict that Jason Kidd would be traded, too.
- I think I gave Isiah Thomas and the Knicks too much credit for their Zach Randolph acquistion, when in reality that team was an absolute mess.
- I totally disrespected the 76ers, who looked like they were rebuilding. Andre Iguodala is a very good player and Maurice Cheeks is an excellent coach for getting his team in the playoffs. He deserves a lot of credit.
- While I predicted the Celtics would impress in the regular season…I don’t know anyone that could predict a 66-win season. I was being safe in picking 50 wins, but I sure was wrong (off by 16!).
Western Conference Pre-season Predictions:
- I certainly didn’t give New Orleans much credit, but it just proves how good Chris Paul is and had to be to make the Hornets contenders. He really should’ve been MVP.
- There is no way to predict the Lakers stealing Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies. It’s obvious that the Lakers were a .500 team without Gasol, and a No. 1 seed with him. He’s that good. But…we also saw how weak he can be up front. Just ask Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett.
- Losing Yao Ming really hurt Houston’s chances of going deep in the playoffs, but Tracy McGrady deserves a ton of credit for getting the Rockets as far as theyh went.
- Utah is an extremely good team that may be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed every year, but they are strong and can beat any team in the NBA in the seven-game series. Perhaps…even the Celtics.
NBA Awards Predictions: (actual winners are in BOLD and/or placed next to the incorrect prediction when necessary)
NBA MVP: LeBron James Kobe Bryant
- Again, Kobe does not win this award unless the Lakers steal Gasol from the Grizzlies. Gasol + Kobe made the Lakers a 57-win team. Kobe alone with Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum made the Lakers a 45-win team at best. In basketball, 57 wins is much different than 45.
Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant
- DING DING DING! I was correct, but was there ever any doubt? He was going to be the only option on this team going forward after they traded Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. I’ll give a shoutout to Al Horford who had himself a fine season as well.
Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Wallace Kevin Garnett
- KC, what were you thinking!?!?! Little did I know…but Ben Wallace is now a shadow of his former self. He just got older and older and finally broke down. He’s still an ace defender, but not with nearly the same effectiveness as he used to.
- Garnett, on the other hand, brought a whole new defensive culture to the Celtics and anchored one of the best defenses in recent memory that carried them through the playoffs.
Most Improved Player: Kendrick Perkins Hedo Turkoglu
- This was really hard to predict, and even harder to see coming. Turkoglu has always been that pesky and annoying European-type player, but he really developed into a fine all-around player in 2007-08. Perk improved, but not nearly at the same rate as Turkoglu. The Magic forward is now an integral part of the Orlando offense with Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis.
Sixth Man: Jerry Stackhouse Manu Ginobili
- I don’t think it’s fair that Ginobili started 23 games and usually plays 31 minutes per game and be considered a sixth man. I know, conceivably, he comes off the bench and scores at will and provides that spark, but to me he’s more of a starter than a role player.
Comeback Player of the Year: Kenyon Martin (According to Basketball Reference, the award does not exist anymore and shame on me for making a prediction. ATTN: David Stern…make this an award!)
- Well…if the award existed, Kenyon Martin would get strong consideration in my book. Martin played in 71 games, averaging 12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in a nice bounceback season.
Executive of the Year: Danny Ainge
- This was extremely easy to predict. All of the offseason moves and I was predicting the Celtics would win 50 games, so picking Ainge seemed automatic to me. Despite his overwhelming edge in my book…other sportswriters felt different.
Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers Byron Scott
- This award really should’ve gone to Doc Rivers, as he orchestrated the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history. It’s as if writers held it against him that he had so many talented players. To get them all to gel in one season was an amazing coaching job. He deserves much more credit than he gets.
NBA Conference Finals Pre-season Predictions
East: Celtics over Cavs, 4-2
West: Spurs over Rockets, 4-3
FINALS: Spurs over Celtics, 4-2
- Well, two out of four ain’t bad. When you consider that at the beginning of the season everyone starts at 0-0, it’s pretty good to get two teams out of 30 correct for appearing in the Conference Finals. I appropriately had the Celtics advancing to the NBA Finals, but I had them lose to the big bad San Antonio Spurs in six games. Again, there’s no way to predict how good the Celtics would become, and there’s now way to predict that the Lakers would steal Pau Gasol. After the trade…I kind of alluded to a Celtics-Lakers showdown.
This season was incredible, considering that I believe no one could’ve predicted a 66-win season and an NBA Finals victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s awesome that all of Boston Sports are in a frenzy right now with how good all of the franchises look (even the Bruins!). I’m so proud of the Celtics and the way they fought through the tough Atlanta, Cleveland, and Detroit series, only to bust down the door against the Lakers. It reminded me of the Red Sox World Series win in 2004. They scratched and clawed to defeat the Yankees in seven games, only to explode and shut down the Cardinals in four straight. I’m so happy that Doc, KG, Pierce, and Ray finally earned their first championship and got over the hump and into the NBA elite.
2009 NBA Finals: Celtics over Lakers in 7!!!
Tags: Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, NBA