Since my last blog was published, the one saying goodbye to Guerschon and looking at possibilities for the 15th roster spot, the Celtics have made a few minor moves. First, Carsen Edwards was officially signed to a 4 year guaranteed contract. It is probably insulting to call that minor because Edwards is likely to be a big part of the team going forward. I say minor because that has been an expected move since draft night. Another move the Celtics made was making Max Strus’ two-way deal official. This had been an anticipated move as well as the Celtics are intrigued by the Delaware guards’ game. The Celtics also signed Javonte Green to a partially guaranteed contract. Green was very impressive throughout the entirety of the summer league, showing off eye-popping athleticism and some offensive finesse as well. That contract means Green will have a spot at competing for the 15th roster spot. All of these minor moves are signs that the Celtics final roster is beginning to take shape. The C’s have already used their two two-way spots on Tremont Waters and Max Strus. Personally, I think Tacko Fall needed to have one of those contracts. He could help out the Celtics by providing some (actually a lot more than some) size when necessary, while spending most of his time developing in the G-League. It does not look like Tacko will be in one of those two spots, so he and Green will likely be battling for the final spot. Based on the teams contracts and recent draft selections, there seems to be 14 guys that are locked into the roster. While having so much roster turnover from last season, I find it mildly impressive the roster is almost set. The next step is finding minutes for guys and figuring out the best rotation to have.
Besides a possible midseason/deadline acquisition, the guys that the Celtics have right now will be the ones on the team for most, if not all, of the season. The rookies showed some great chemistry during summer league and all Celtics fans hope that can continue into training camp and beyond with the rest of the players. Looking at the roster from top to bottom, there are four guys that are going to be starters without a doubt. Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Jayson Tatum are going to be manning the 1-4 spots in an exciting small-ball lineup. These are the four most talented players on the team and are going to have to work well together if this team has any chance of success. The starting 5 spot could go a few different ways. Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Robert ‘Timelord’ Williams all have a shot at starting. Kanter is the best player of the bunch, but it seems feasible that he is best suited on the second unit. More of a defensive presence at the 5 is likely the best option if the rest of the lineup is already going smaller and there are four strong options to score the rock. Brad would then decide between a more-seasoned Theis or a higher-potential Williams. The starting lineup, loaded with versatility, switchability, and offensive repertoires, has a chance to be one of the league’s best. But, there is also potential for chemistry issues and the lack of size being exploited. I will lean towards the former so I don’t get crucified (and because I believe that).
Ideally, Brad likes to play a nine or ten man rotation. Marcus Smart is the undisputed sixth man. My favorite player on the team, everyone knows what they are getting from Marcus. He will run the second unit with expected success. Kanter will be getting heavy minutes, likely around 25 minutes a night. He can be instant offense from a big man position off the bench. Whoever does not start between Williams or Theis will be getting important minutes off the bench. Their role will be grabbing rebounds, protecting the paint, and running pick and rolls on offense, whether it is as a decoy or an actual option. So far, that is 8 players that are expected to get heavy minutes. Who else will be getting important minutes off the bench? It is likely that it will be two of the three rookies. Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, and Carsen Edwards all have good chances of being staples in the rotation. If Brad is looking for non box-score intangibles and an all-around type of impact, Grant’s name will be getting called. If the starters are having trouble scoring and instant offense is needed, Carsen will be getting his name called. If Brad wants some more athleticism on the court along with offensive and defensive versatility, Romeo will hear his name more often than not. Eleven players have been mentioned, all with significant possible roles. If they all play their roles well, there are things to be very excited about. And don’t forget about Semi Ojeleye and Vincent Poirier. I expect those to be the two other players to dress and it is likely they will find themselves in the rotation as well. It is very possible Brad might prefer them to the rookies to start the season. There is some depth here, albeit young depth, but the Celtics have reasons to be excited.