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Boston Celtics fantasy basketball season recap

Previewing 2025 NBA Championship odds
Jay Croucher and Drew Dinsick preview NBA championship odds for 2025, with the Boston Celtics opening as heavy favorites, and why they have reservations about the Nuggets, among others.

By Raphielle Johnson


At a Glance:

Record: 64-18 (1st, East)

Offensive Rating: 122.2 (1st)

Defensive Rating: 110.6 (2nd)

Net Rating: 11.7 (1st)

Pace: 97.98 (19th)

2024 NBA Draft Picks: 30, 54

High expectations have been the norm in Boston, so the pressure that the 2023-24 Celtics faced before the season began was nothing new. Jaylen Brown had just received his gaudy contract extension, and lead executive Brad Stevens bolstered the roster with the offseason additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. Brown and Jayson Tatum have long been the statistical leaders, but Marcus Smart’s exit put a little more on their plates regarding leadership that went beyond the numbers. Add in coach Joe Mazzulla, who had his interim tag removed, and there was a lot of pressure on this group to hang an 18th championship banner for the franchise.

The Celtics did what was expected, as they were the class of the NBA during the regular season and backed that up with a 16-3 run through the playoffs. Tatum and Brown, with the latter being named MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals, have that elusive title. And the way the roster is built, the Celtics don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. They’re the extremely early betting favorites to win the title next season and with good reason.

Regarding fantasy basketball, the additions of Porzingis and Holiday meant that everyone had to sacrifice something. While scoring averages decreased, Boston boasted one of the most efficient offenses in NBA history, and they were also an elite defensive team. According to Basketball Monster, six players finished the regular season ranked within the top 100 in 9-cat, per-game value, and three starters landed in the top 30. And the Celtics are well positioned to duplicate that feat in 2024-25.

Fantasy Standout: Jayson Tatum

This is an easy choice, even if Tatum did not reach his Yahoo ADP (5.3). It was clear that Boston’s main options would take a “haircut” regarding fantasy value due to how talented the roster was, but there wasn’t much of a drop-off for the four-time All-NBA selection. In 74 games, Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 3.1 3-pointers in 35.7 minutes, shooting 47.1% from the field and 83.3% from the foul line. The most significant decrease occurred in the points category, as Tatum’s average dropped by more than three points per game (30.1 in 2022-23).

However, despite the usage decreasing by over two percentage points, his offensive rating improved by three points compared to 2022-23, jumping to 121. Tatum finished the regular season as a top 15 per-game player in 8- and 9-cat formats and 1st-round player in totals. He’s played at least 74 games in three straight and five of his seven NBA seasons, protecting Tatum’s fantasy value. He’s eligible for a lucrative contract extension this summer, and the expectation is that the Celtics will get that done. Regarding fantasy value in 2024-25, Tatum should once again be a first-round selection, regardless of format.

Fantasy Revelation: Derrick White

During the preseason, White’s name was the most often mentioned when discussing which Celtics player could take the most significant hit regarding fantasy value. He failed to crack the top 75 in the two seasons prior, the second being his first full campaign in Boston. So White would obviously lose value, right? Wrong. The additions of Porzingis and Holiday were countered by the exit of Marcus Smart, which protected White’s fantasy value. And he took things to another level, averaging 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 2.7 3-pointers in 32.6 minutes per game, shooting 46.1% from the field and 90.1% from the foul line.

White just missed out on top-25 per-game value in 9-cat formats while ranking just inside the top 40 in 8-cat and was a top 25 player in totals. Since being limited to 36 games during the 2020-21 campaign availability has not been a concern for White, who has appeared in 75, 82, and 73 contests in the three seasons since. While he’s unlikely to be selected in drafts as high as he finished this season, it’s clear that White can provide top-50 fantasy value at a minimum. He certainly won’t be underestimated next fall after many assumed before Boston’s title-winning season that his value would take a hit.

Fantasy Disappointment: Jaylen Brown

Given how well Brown played in the postseason, attaching “disappointment” to his name is extremely harsh. However, his fantasy value took a dip during the regular season. Hitting the 70 games played mark for the first time since 2018-19, Brown averaged 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.1 3-pointers in 33.5 minutes, shooting 49.9% from the field and 70.3% from the foul line. Despite making his third All-Star Game appearance, Brown finished the regular season ranked outside the top 75 in 9-cat, per-game value while sitting just inside the top 60 in 8-cat. That production isn’t “bad,” but fantasy managers expected more based on Brown’s Yahoo ADP of 35.8.

The biggest issue for JB this season was the foul shooting, as his percentage (70.3%) was more than six points lower than his 2022-23 mark (76.5%). Brown’s free-throw percentage was his worst since 2018-19 when he made just 65.8% of his attempts, and it ended a run of three consecutive seasons of shooting at least 75%. Given that track record, fantasy managers should not be too concerned heading into 2024-25. Brown can undoubtedly provide top-50 fantasy value, and managers should draft him as such.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads

Kristaps Porzingis:

After averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game with the Wizards in 2022-23, Porzingis was going into the final guaranteed season of his contract. Fortunately for him, the 7-foot-3 big man was given the opportunity to play for a winner, as the Celtics acquired him as part of a three-team deal with Washington and Memphis. While the scoring average decreased by three-plus points, Porzingis remained a highly valuable fantasy option when on the court. Playing 29.6 minutes per game, he averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.9 blocks, and 1.9 3-pointers, shooting 51.6% from the field and 85.8% from the foul line. Porzingis’ field goal percentage was the best of his career, and he offered 2nd-round per-game value in 8- and 9-cat formats, but there was an issue: availability.

Porzingis only played in 57 regular season games, and he’s only appeared in 60 or more games once since the 2016-17 campaign (65 in 2022-23). More concerning for fantasy managers preparing for 2024-25 was the injury-riddled playoff run. Porzingis missed ten games due to a right calf strain suffered during the first round, and a left leg injury put him on the shelf for Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals (he was officially cleared for Game 4 but did not see action due to the Celtics getting blown out). Following Boston’s Game 5 victory to win the title, Porzingis revealed that he will need surgery to address the rare left leg injury, and rehab should take “months.” His placement in fantasy drafts will depend on how far along he is in the recovery process at the end of the summer. However, Porzingis’ availability issues mean his ADP is unlikely to equal his fantasy ceiling.

Jrue Holiday:

After three seasons in Milwaukee, Holiday was traded to Portland on September 27 in a move that surprised him and his family. With the Trail Blazers embarking on a rebuild, the veteran guard wasn’t with the franchise for long, as Boston acquired him on October 1. Holiday’s fantasy value did take a hit, as he failed to finish within the top 50 in per-game value for the first time since 2016-17, but the six-time All-Defensive Team selection remained a solid option for managers. Appearing in 69 games, Holiday averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.0 3-pointers in 32.8 minutes, shooting 48.0% from the field and 83.3% from the foul line.

That production placed Jrue just inside the top 75 in 8-cat per-game value, and he ranked 75th in 9-cat, according to Basketball Monster. The 69 games are the most he has appeared in since 2017-18 (81), with Holiday playing 67 or more in four of the last six seasons. The veteran guard agreed to a contract extension just before the end of the regular season, so his immediate future in Boston appears secure. Holiday can offer top 75 fantasy value, if not exceed that threshold. However, given the many options in the Celtics rotation, his fantasy ceiling is limited.

Al Horford:

After 17 NBA seasons, Horford finally earned that elusive championship. While he sacrificed the most by moving to the bench due to Porzingis’ arrival, Horford still started 33 of the 65 games he played. Playing 26.8 minutes per game, he finished with averages of 8.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 1.7 3-pointers, shooting 51.5% from the field and 86.7% from the foul line. Shooting better than 50% from the field for the first time since 2018-19, Horford finished the regular season as a top 100 player in 9-cat formats while providing 10th-round value in 8-cat.

While he did avoid injury, the 38-year-old Horford did not play both ends of any back-to-backs this season. The approach worked regarding keeping him healthy, and fantasy managers should expect more of the same in 2024-25. Horford is worth using a late-round pick on, especially when considering Porzingis’ injury history, but fantasy managers should not get too ambitious regarding where they select him in drafts.

Payton Pritchard:

The lone Celtic to play in all 82 regular season games, Pritchard took on a more prominent role within the rotation after averaging 13.4 minutes in 2022-23. The fourth-year guard established new career-high averages in minutes (22.3), points (9.6), assists (3.4), and 3-pointers (1.8) while shooting 46.8% from the field (also a career-high) and 82.1% from the foul line.

Unfortunately for the fantasy managers who took a late-round flier on Pritchard, who had a Yahoo ADP of 139.2, the improved numbers did not boost his fantasy value. Ranked just inside the top 200 in 9-cat per-game value, he failed to crack that threshold in 8-cat. However, he was a top 150 player in totals due to the availability. With the Celtics’ starting perimeter players under contract for next season, Pritchard’s fantasy prospects for 2024-25 are unlikely to change.

Sam Hauser:

Hauser’s minutes have increased in his three NBA seasons, and the production has followed suit. Appearing in 79 games (13 starts), he averaged 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.5 3-pointers in 22.0 minutes, shooting 44.6% from the field and 89.5% from the foul line. In the rotation due to his perimeter shooting ability, 465 of the 558 shots Hauser attempted were from beyond the arc. The availability boosted Hauser’s totals, but the per-game value remained outside the top 150.

Hauser has a team option worth a little over $2 million, and the Celtics have until June 29 to decide whether or not to pick it up. While he and Porzingis don’t play the same position, the latter’s need to undergo left leg surgery could impact the team’s thinking. If he remains with the Celtics and Porzingis is not ready to go when training camp begins, Hauser could be worth taking a late-round flier on in deep leagues.

Luke Kornet:

After averaging 11.7 minutes per game in 2022-23, Kornet played 15.6 this season, with his points, rebounds, assists, and blocks all increasing. The 29-year-old center averaged 5.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, shooting 50% from the field and 90.7% from the foul line. Kornet attempted 203 shots from the field, the first time he’s surpassed 200 since his second season (2018-19 with the Knicks). With Boston trading Robert Williams and having two veteran centers whose track records (Porzingis) and age (Horford) suggested they would miss time at some point, Kornet’s opportunities increased. However, it wasn’t enough to make him a player that fantasy managers need to have on their radar before next season. Kornet will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he’ll be asked to offer additional frontcourt depth wherever he lands.

Xavier Tillman:

Tillman began his fourth NBA season where he played his first three: in Memphis. The 2020 second-round pick of the Grizzlies played in 34 games before being traded to the Celtics on February 7. In 54 games, Tillman averaged 5.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 0.4 3-pointers in 18.0 minutes, shooting 43.4% from the field and 44.0% from the foul line. Tillman’s place within the Celtics rotation during the regular season depended on the availability of Porzingis and Horford, and he didn’t do enough to merit being streamed on most nights. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will likely offer limited fantasy value, regardless of where he lands.

Restricted Free Agents: JD Davison, Drew Peterson

Unrestricted Free Agents: Luke Kornet, Xavier Tillman, Svi Mykhailiuk

Team Option: Sam Hauser, Neemias Queta

Player Option: Oshae Brissett