Once again, the Boston Celtics entered the season with high hopes and expectations, and once again, they couldn't perform when it mattered the most. Now, they have a slightly revamped roster with even more depth, but fewer stars.
The Celtics addressed their need for more size with the addition of Tristan Thompson, who can give them the same rebounding presence as Enes Kanter while also being a better defender. They lost Gordon Hayward, though, but perhaps that'll be a blessing in disguise for them.
Don't get me wrong, Hayward - even that version of him - is an outstanding player. However, his departure will allow Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to carry most of the load in the offense. That being said, let's take a look at the projected starting lineup for the 2020/21 Boston Celtics.
Bench: Jeff Teague, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, Javonte Green, Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson, Tacko Fall
Point Guard: Kemba Walker
The rumors say that Danny Ainge was trying to trade Kemba Walker to land Jrue Holiday in the offseason so perhaps he'll be extra motivated to prove what he's worth. Walker had a solid first year as a Celtic but kind of underperformed in the playoffs.
There's no doubt that Walker is one of the best scoring guards in the league and his playmaking is also above the average. He doesn't make many mistakes and can step up in big moments, so we're sure he'll only get better during his second year under Brad Stevens' system.
Shooting Guard: Marcus Smart
There's a good reason why Marcus Smart is one of the biggest fan favorites for the Boston Celtics. He's a never-ending source of grit, grind, and hustle. He's aggressive, strong, and his ability to guard one through five at his size is almost unmatched.
Smart has improved his three-point shooting but still needs to be in more control of his body when he drives through the lane. However, he could not take a single shot in the game and still make a huge impact with his defensive energy and passion.
Small Forward: Jaylen Brown
It's time we finally start giving Jaylen Brown the respect he's due. We're talking about a young, athletic guard/forward that can literally do anything on the court now that he's improved as a free-throw and three-point shooter.
Brown has embraced his role as the Celtics' second-gunman behind Jayson Tatum. Nonetheless, he won't hesitate to pull the trigger when Tatum's fall isn't falling, and defenses should never sleep on him. Hopefully, he'll break out even further next season.
Power Forward: Jayson Tatum
Non-Celtics fans believe that Jayson Tatum is overrated and overpaid but let me tell you one thing: If anything, he's underrated. Tatum has all the tools to become the best two-way player in the world and he continues to flourish right before our eyes.
Jayson Tatum can efficiently score from all three levels. He can rebound, push the break, and plays some solid defense even over stronger and longer opposition. Tatum is the face of the winningest franchise in the NBA for a reason, and he's just scratching the surface of his potential.
Center: Daniel Theis
Daniel Theis is likely to enter the year as the Boston Celtics' starting big man but that doesn't mean that he's going to end the same way. Perhaps, Tristan Thompson will take over that role once he makes the adjustment to Brad Stevens' system.
Even so, Theis is going to have a huge role for the Celtics, as he's proven to be a reliable and versatile defender in the paint and the perimeter. Also, his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc makes him one of the biggest bargains in the NBA.