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Boston Celtics 2015 roster: Brad Stevens has a playoff-ready team again

The Celtics added David Lee for the battle for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Stevens knows how to lead a turnaround. After the Boston Celtics finished 25-57 in his first season at the helm, Stevens coached the Celtics to a 40-42 record last season -- good enough for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Entering his third season in Boston, Stevens has a slightly upgraded roster from last season amidst a slew of upgraded rosters in the East and could have trouble maintaining his success -- but don't be shocked if he somehow improves on last season's surprise playoff appearance.

The Celtics' biggest pickup this offseason was David Lee, the All-Star who ran out of playing time in Golden State. Lee and center Kelly Olynyk give the Celtics a strong frontcourt duo. Marcus Smart should have more responsibility in his sophomore season, and the Celtics will need him to step up. And with Isaiah Thomas coming off the bench, the Celtics are deep at the point guard position.

In the East, the Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks, Wizards, Bucks and Raptors appear poised to be the conference's top six teams, leaving about six teams fighting for the final two playoff spots. Even after grabbing the seventh seed last season, it won't be easy for the Celtics to repeat the feat. Then again, Stevens has proven to be an excellent NBA coach and with the addition of David Lee and the hope that Smart can improve, the Celtics may even break apart the East's top six teams.

LAST YEAR

RECORD: 40-42 (seventh in Eastern Conference)
PLAYOFFS: Lost to Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-0, in first round
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 101.7 (20th)
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 102.1 (tie 12th)

ROSTER

No.
PLAYER
POS
HEIGHT
WEIGHT
AGE
COLLEGE
0 Avery Bradley
PG 6'2 180
24 Texas
4
Isaiah Thomas PG
5'9 185 26 Washington
7 Jared Sullinger
PF 6'9 260
23 Ohio State
8 Jonas Jerebko
PF
6'10 231
28
11 Evan Turner SG
6'7 220 26 Ohio State
12 Terry Rozier PG
6'2 190 21 Louisville
13 James Young SG
6'6 215 20 Kentucky
28 R.J. Hunter SG 6'5 185 21 Georgia State
36 Marcus Smart PG 6'4 220
21 Oklahoma State
38
Perry Jones SF 6'11 235 24 Baylor
41 Kelly Olynyk C
7'0 238 24 Gonzaga
42
David Lee PF
6'9 245
32 Florida
44
Tyler Zeller
C 7'0 253 25 North Carolina
90
Amir Johnson PF 6'9
240 28
99
Jae Crowder SF
6'6
235 25 Marquette

Coach: Brad Stevens
Assistant coaches: Jamie Young, Jay LarranagaMicah Shrewsberry

OFFSEASON CHANGES

IN: David Lee, Amir Johnson, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Perry Jones III
OUT: Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace

The big pickup was Lee, but they also added depth with Johnson and Jones and youth with R.J. Hunter and Rozier.

DEPTH CHART

POINT GUARD
SHOOTING GUARD
SMALL FORWARD
POWER FORWARD
CENTER
STARTER
Marcus Smart
Avery Bradley Evan Turner
Amir Johnson
Tyler Zeller
RESERVE
Isaiah Thomas James Young Jae Crowder
Kelly Olynyk
David Lee
RESERVE
Terry Rozier R.J. Hunter
Perry Jones Jonas Jerebko Jared Sullinger
RESERVE

Jordan Mickey

THE KEY QUESTION

Will there finally be fireworks this season?

I always think there's a move coming just around the corner and lately I've been disappointed (if you don't call last year's fire sale). So I'm going to say "no" and hope I'm wrong.

I guess I just don't see the next superstar becoming available mid-season. Maybe DeMarcus Cousins finally forces his way out of Sactown, but maybe not. I'm not exactly crazy about adding a 31 year old Carmelo Anthony to the team and hoping that he ages well. Sure, I'd love to snag Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, but I'm not holding my breath for either of them to become available to the Celtics any time soon.

So we may have to continue to slowly build through the draft and development and hope that next superstar player emerges from within. For now, Brad Stevens and his deep, flexible squad of overachievers is going to do whatever damage they can this season and continue along the path of progress.

-- Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog. Read the full preview here.

PREDICTIONS

BEST CASE: Some combination of Johnson, Lee, Zeller and Olynyk gel to make up one of the strongest front courts in the league. Marcus Smart builds on a strong first year in the league to become one of the best point guards in the East. The Celtics jump into the East's top six and have a strong resume for 2016 free agents.

WORST CASE: Brad Stevens can't get much out of Lee and Smart struggles through a sophomore slump. Boston doesn't make the playoffs and their highest draft picks comes from themselves, not Brooklyn or Dallas.