The Boston Celtics with a rookie head coach are entering a rebuilding stage. The Toronto Raptors have been there, done that and are hoping they find success in the NBA 2013-2014 season behind a squad, featuring a mix of veterans and promising up-and-comers.
The Celtics visit the Raptors on Wednesday night in both teams’ debut for the 2013-2014 regular season.
The 2013 offseason officially graduated Boston’s Big Three. Traded over the summer were Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, which gave up a bunch of future first round picks to accelerate Boston’s reconstruction.
Brad Stevens, who is the youngest head coach in the NBA at 37 years old, has the tough task of turning his young squad to a competitive bunch even as starting point guard Rajon Rondo is still recovering from a torn ACL.
Replacing him for the meantime is Avery Bradley, who is known for his defensive wizardry but wants to develop a consistent offensive game. Joining Bradley in the Boston starting line-up are Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Kris Humphries and Brandon Bass. Rookie Kelly Olynk, drafted 13th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, is also expected to be part of the rotation.
The unlikely veteran leader is Jeff Green, who is the team’s top-scorer with averages of 15.0 points in the 2012-2013 season.
Meanwhile, the Raptors are aiming to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and they want to avoid a bad start similar to last season’s performance when they went 4-19 to start 2013.
Except for Andrea Bargnani, who was traded to the New York Knicks during the summer, the Raptors’ core is pretty much the same from last season. Projected starters are Kyle Lowry as the point guard, DeMar Derozan and Rudy Gay at the wings and Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas in the paint.
Acquired in the offseason were Tyler Hansbrough, who’ll back up both the forward and center spots, and D.J. Augustin, who’ll spell Lowry.
Canada’s eyes will be on the continued development of the 21-year-old Valanciunas, pegged to have a breakout year, and averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in 57 games last season.
Rudy Gay will still be the primary option with averages of 17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals after being traded to the Raptors mid-season.
Betting Against the Spread (ATS) Betting Lines: Boston Celtics (+8) vs. Toronto Raptors (O/U: 189.5)
Boston Celtics Trends - Celtics are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs. teams from the Atlantic division - Celtics are 18-7-1 ATS in the last 26 meetings between Toronto and Boston - Celtics are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in Toronto
Toronto Raptors Trends - Raptors are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games - Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games at home - Raptors are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. East teams