While it is still early, the Boston Celtics’ final rotation is coming into place. The team had a quiet off-season, but still managed to keep most of their core intact in trying to assemble a championship-contending team. With that said, it’s time to preview what the Celtics’ rotation could look like for the 2018-2019 season.
Starting back-court: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum
Kyrie Irving will once again lead the Celtics’ back-court alongside Gordon Hayward this season following their injuries. These are a given at this point, as the two are arguably the team’s best players when healthy. Hayward could find himself playing at the small forward position depending on the lineup, especially with Jayson Tatum’s emergence as a versatile forward who can play as a guard.
Tatum will likely be inserted into the starting lineup once again this season following an impressive performance in the playoffs. He has proven to be a versatile scorer already, which will add some more offensive talent to go alongside Irving and Hayward. Should Tatum develop into a consistent scoring threat, the Celtics’ starting lineup could be deadlier than we imagined.
Back-up back-court: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye(SG/SF)
Shortly after signing a 4 year, $52 million contract with the Celtics, Marcus Smart will continue to bring energy off the bench as a versatile defender. The offensive struggles are still there, but with his production on the defensive end, the Celtics will have yet another versatile swing in the rotation to play with.
After leading the Celtics to the ECF last season, Terry Rozier will have a diminished role this season with Irving’s return. Despite the limited role, Rozier will still be productive, as he has shown improvement on his offensive production throughout his career which came to fruition during the team’s surprising playoff run.
Should the Celtics go “small-ball”, Jaylen Brown is still always a viable option in the starting line-up. He showed flashes of his strong potential last season, particularly in the playoffs, averaging 18 PPG on 46% shooting. However, the Celtics will likely look to push Aron Baynes into the starting line-up to slide Al Horford to power-forward, his natural position. This gives the Celtics some flexibility with balancing out their talent.
Starting front-court: Al Horford, Aron Baynes
The Celtics are relatively thin with their front-court depth, but will still get some production from some familiar faces. Al Horford will lead the way in the team’s front-court as he has established himself as an all-around player in the Celtics’ offense. His stats won’t impress, but Horford’s leadership, experience, passing ability, and ability to stretch the floor will all be valuable this season.
With Baynes still in the picture, the Celtics will once again have their starting front-court from last season. His offense production isn’t anything to brag about, but his effort on the defensive end will still prove to valuable. With lack of experience from some of their young big men, Baynes could be seeing himself in a similar role.
Back-up front-court: Guershon Yabusele, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis
The Celtics lack the experience from their back-up big men, but will still be able to make up for it with their versatile lineups. Robert Williams will likely have a smaller role as he is likely a longer-term project. That leaves both Guerschon Yabusele and Daniel Theis leading the way to bring energy off the bench. It remains to be seen how Yabusele plays this season, as he finished last season as a reserve for the Celtics. Theis on the other hand, produced relatively well off the bench in his first year in the league. The Celtics’ front-court remains a big question mark, but overall, the Celtics are in good shape to contend for a championship despite the continued emergence of the Western Conference.