BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics enter the 2017-18 season with big-time potential, as a trip to the NBA Finals could be within their grasp with a new-look lineup led by offseason additions Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. But like co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, team president Rich Gotham is doing his best to temper expectations for the coming season.
Speaking to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones and Nick Cattles on Monday, Gotham spoke about his own expectations for the team. Their talent level should have them among the NBA’s elite teams and a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference – but because of the roster turnover and other factors, Gotham isn’t going there yet.
“It’s hard to gauge [expectations for the team],” said Gotham. “Obviously we made a lot of moves in the offseason with the goal of being a better team come the playoffs. But you’ve got to get into the playoffs first. We haven’t seen this team play yet, so it’s still kind of a mystery.
“Hopes are high. It’s just a little hard to gauge right now, until we’ve played a few games. We really haven’t seen this team play together under stress or have any big tests.”
Still, with Irving leading the way, the Celtics should find themselves at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standings once the playoffs roll around. But Gotham is even downplaying expectations for the former Cavalier in particular, describing him as just one piece of what will need to be a complete roster.
“Make no mistake, we think [Irving] is a player who can help us a lot. But at the same time, we don’t expect him to carry us on his back,” said Gotham. “He’s one of 15. He’s got some good company with some established All-Star veterans and some up-and-coming young talent who still really need to prove themselves. So I think Kyrie is gonna be as good as the players around him, and I’d say that’s true for every player on our team.”
Gotham also spoke about the departure of Isaiah Thomas and what goes into the kinds of deals that the Celtics and Cavaliers made in the offseason. Listen to the full interview above!