This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:
2013-14 finish: 25-57, 4th in Atlantic Division
Season series vs. Wizards: Wizards won 3-1 in the regular season.
Key losses: SG Jerryd Bayles, PF Kris Humphries
Key additions: PG Marcus Smart, SF James Young, SG Marcus Thornton, PF Tyler Zeller, SG Evan Turner.
Outlook: Nope, Larry Bird and Bill Russell aren't walking through the doors at TD Garden Arena, which likely means missing the playoffs for a second straight season. That said, the Celtics made good use of what assets they add for a rather productive offseason. Boston took advantage of a large trade exception and Cleveland's desire to part with salary for you know who and landed a vable big man (Zeller), an instant-offense scorer (Thornton) and a future first round pick. Danny Ainge drafted the point guard of the future (Smart) and a small forward oozing potential (Young) after landing two interior types (Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger) in the first round last season. All of that gives coach Brad Stevens more to work with in entering this second NBA season, but not enough for a playoff push. That's true even with the return of Rajon Rondo from injury, though the Celtics best plan with the All-Star playmaker likely involves shipping him to a contender for long-term parts. Re-signing Avery Bradley for four-year, $28 million was a pricy reach, but he'll eventually form a smothering defensive tandem with Smart. Though it appears the roster lacks a signature player (unless Rondo stays and stars), the Celtics will eventually find their way back into contention. Only the defensive Boston fans will believe that time comes in the 2014-15 season.