The Boston Celtics suffered some major blows in the offseason with the losses of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, but they were able to rectify some of that the signings of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.
This team was supposed to contend for a Championship but has constantly underperformed in the playoffs. Still, Brad Stevens has proved to be great at making adjustments, regardless of the personnel he’s got on his squad.
Danny Ainge will be facing a lot of pressure this season, so this team will be forced to live up to the expectations before their supporters think of it as a huge failure.
Boston will have to try and compete with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers for the Eastern Conference’s top seed, and today, we’ll let you know about the starting five they’ll use to start the campaign:
Bench: Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford, Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Grant Williams
Point Guard: Kemba Walker
The Celtics lost Kyrie but signed Kemba, and that may actually be for the best. Kemba lacks Kyrie’s handles but makes up for it with defensive commitment, basketball IQ, and leadership -- all the areas where Irving was a disappointment for Boston.
Kemba has posted similar numbers to Kyrie over the last couple of seasons, and he’ll finally have a capable supporting cast playing next to him. Also, he’s already bonding with his new teammates during Team USA’s camp, so he’ll hit the ground running at the TD Garden.
Shooting Guard: Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown showed glimpses of greatness during his first two seasons in the league, but kind of regressed last year with Kyrie carrying most of the load on the offensive end. Now, he’s going to be asked to step up on both sides of the hardwood.
Brown will benefit a lot from his time with Team USA to improve his offensive instincts and shooting. He’s already a solid and versatile defender and is poised to have a breakout year now that the Celtics need him the most.
Small Forward: Gordon Hayward
It’s now or never for Gordon Hayward. We know he’s going to start the season with the team, but he can still be traded midseason if things don’t work out. Still, Brad Stevens has always tried to put him in a position to succeed and get his groove back.
Hayward will have to embrace a different role with the team this season. He’s no longer going to be a first scoring option and he’s not likely to live up to his big contract, but if he can give them 15 a night, he’ll be huge for the team.
Power Forward: Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum isn’t your average power forward, but he’ll give Brad Stevens some versatility and spacing. He’s got the length to guard most fours and is a good perimeter defender, but will struggle against more physical scorers, especially in the post.
Still, Tatum has put a lot of work on his game during the summer, and we all know he’s got all the tools to become the league’s next superstar. He must prove it, though, as he’ll likely be this team’s second scoring option going forward.
Center: Enes Kanter
Brad Stevens is great at hiding his team’s worst defender, so it’ll be interesting to see how he manages Enes Kanter. Kanter is a better scorer and rebounder than Al Horford was, but not nearly the same defender.
Stevens will likely turn to Robert Williams or Daniel Theis when the team needs a stop, but we all know Kanter is great at post scoring and dominating the offensive glass. It’ll be an intriguing experiment, for sure.