Simulation Station

Simulating Celtics' highly-anticipated 2023-24 season, with wild results

Celtics fans may enjoy how this one plays out.

NBC Universal, Inc.

To say expectations are high for the 2023-24 Boston Celtics might be an understatement.

After falling to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Celtics completely revamped their lineup this offseason, parting with core veterans Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon to acquire All-Stars Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.

Boston's new-look "top six" looked dominant in the preseason, and with former members of the Celtics' 2008 NBA championship squad making regular appearances at practices (at head coach Joe Mazzulla's request) there's a "title or bust" vibe on Causeway Street.

So, is this the season the Celtics get over the championship hump? How will Boston's new roster additions fare in their first seasons in green, and which other teams will emerge as legitimate contenders?

We had our partners at Strat-O-Matic simulate the entire 2023-24 NBA season, predicting stat lines for every Celtics player, the regular-season standings for all 30 teams and the full postseason bracket to crown a 2024 champion.

Let's get to the results.

The new guys fit right in

These stats back up the argument that Boston has the best top six in the NBA.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both stuff the stat sheet in Strat-O-Matic's simulation, averaging a combined 52.6 points per game. In fact, Tatum finishes second in overall NBA MVP voting behind Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in this simulation.

Porzingis and Holiday aren't far behind, however: The 7-foot-3 big man puts up 19.5 points per game thanks to a career-best 44.9 percent rate from 3-point range, while Holiday contributes 18.7 points per game along with a team-best 9.1 assists per game.

Derrick White continues to be rock-solid in this simulation to give Boston five players in double figures, while Al Horford finishes just under his scoring output from last season but hits a ridiculous 52.4 percent of his threes.

Celtics steamroll through regular season

If you like offense and blowout victories, you'll love the 2023-24 Celtics.

Strat-O-Matic has the C's rolling to the East's No. 1 seed with 64 wins, their most since the 2007-08 championship campaign. But it's not just the amount of wins that's most impressive. It's how they get them.

Of Boston's 64 wins, nearly half come by 20 points or more (28 total). The Celtics win 15 games by at least 30 points and score at least 130 points in 25 different games. Strat-O-Matic has the C's high-powered offense scoring 124.1 points per game -- which would be the franchise's highest total since 1961-62 -- while allowing just 110.9 points per contest.

The Celtics don't just blow out bottom-feeders, either: Strat-O-Matic has Boston putting a 142-102 beatdown on the Bucks in their first meeting on Nov. 22, then surging to a 148-121 victory in Milwaukee on April 9.

Heavyweights rise to the top in East

Those blowouts don't stop Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and the Bucks from ripping off 59 wins -- second-most in the NBA in Strat-O-Matic's simulation -- to earn the No. 2 seed behind Boston. There's a sizable gap between them and the rest of the conference, as the Philadelphia 76ers are 14 games behind the Celtics as the No. 3 seed.

The Indiana Pacers emerge as a surprise contender, scrapping to 47 wins and the No. 5 seed to end a three-year playoff drought. The Orlando Magic also sneak in as the No. 8 seed, while the New York Knicks bottom out as the No. 12 seed after finishing fifth in the conference last season.

Surprise contender emerges out West

Yes, that's the Minnesota Timberwolves you see atop the West standings.

After finishing just two games over .500 last season, Anthony Edwards and the Wolves rip off 55 wins to edge three teams -- the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors -- for the No. 1 seed.

That leaves the reigning champion Denver Nuggets as the No. 5 seed despite a 50-win season, while Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and the new-look Phoenix Suns stumble to a 43-39 record, needing a play-in tournament victory to sneak into the postseason.

Celtics exorcise their demons vs. Miami

For all the hype surrounding the Bucks, Strat-O-Matic has the Miami Heat dispatching them in the postseason for the second straight year, this time a seven-game series win in Round 2.

The Celtics sweep the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in Strat-O-Matic's simulation.

The Celtics, meanwhile, make quick work of the No. 8 Charlotte Hornets and the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in Rounds 1 and 2 to set up a third consecutive Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals. This time, the Celtics don't mess around, sweeping the Heat to avenge their 2023 ECF loss and get back to the NBA Finals.

Their opponent? You guessed it: the upstart Timberwolves, who knock off the Suns, Nuggets and Sacramento Kings en route to their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

The Timberwolves upset the defending NBA champions en route to their first NBA Finals appearance.

Banner 18 finally comes to Boston

The Wolves are a nice story, but no one is stopping the Celtics juggernaut in this simulation.

!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!["datawrapper-height"]){var e=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var t in["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<e.length;r++)if(e[r].contentWindow===a.source){var["datawrapper-height"][t]+"px";e[r].style.height=i}}}))}();

Boston demolishes Minnesota at TD Garden in Games 1 and 2 of the "Kevin Garnett Series," then grinds out a pair of wins on the road to secure its 18th championship in franchise history and first since 2008. Consider the business finished.

Contact Us