The Boston Celtics look to rebound from a rather dissapointing season last year. In free agency they brought in starters Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. While they lost some important players, the Celtics true heart and soul remains. Here is what I expect from each probable starter next year. To keep things consistent, I will be predicting stats for about 30 minutes played per game.
Point Guard: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is finally part of a contending team, and I feel he will rise to the occasion. He is the point guard version of Al Horford, as Kemba displays the same leadership and unselfishness which benefited the Charlotte Hornets. Odds are we will see a drop in his scoring output and a rise in his assist numbers as he joins a team with real second and third scoring options. His rebounding numbers will stay about the same, and his defense will improve under Stevens' system, as it did with Kyrie. His status as a "iron man" of sorts is also very valuable, as he has missed only six games in the past four years.
As for accolades, Kemba will most likely get an All-Star appearance. He could even once again slide into an All-NBA team, though that is obviously unlikely. But overall, he is a great signing and will be crucial to the Boston Celtics success this upcoming season.
Projected Per Game Stats: 22 Points, 7.5 Assists, 4 Rebounds, 1.8 Steals, 0.7 Blocks
Shooting Guard: Jaylen Brown
I am going to believe Stevens will start Jaylen Brown over Smart, but it could quite possibly be the opposite. Brown has been on the verge of breaking out his whole career, and I think this year may finally be the year. Brown will benefit greatly from Walker being the PG instead of Kyrie.
His scoring and confidence will grown as the season goes on, and he should have an efficient career high in PPG this year. His assist and rebound numbers will also go up, but mostly because of the fact that he will be playing more. Most importantly, his defense should take a huge step up this year and he may be the most important starter in that department. He should have a great contract year, and I could see him making a case for the Most Improved Player award.
Projected Per Game Stats: 16.5 Points, 3 Assists, 5.5 Rebounds, 1.4 Steals, 0.7 Blocks
Small Forward: Jayson Tatum
One of the only three clear starters for the Boston Celtics next year, Jayson Tatum may have a bigger jump than Brown. Tatum, deservedly, has had an insane amount of hype surround him since his rookie year. Last year he took a jump, but not as big as most predicted. This year I believe he takes a leap. He will be the primary beneficiary of Kemba on the offensive end, and Tatum's scoring will soar next year. His passing and rebounding should take a step up, and Jayson's underrated defense will be crucial to the team success.
Tatum could return to the top of the league at 3pt shooting, and could play in the All-Star 3pt contest. While he is there for that contest, he probably will also be playing in the All-Star game alongside Walker. Like Brown, Tatum will present a case for Most improved player, if my prediction is correct of course. For Tatum, the sky's is the limit, and he will prove that next year.
Projected Per Game Stats: 19.5 Points, 3 Assists, 6.5 Rebounds, 1.3 Steals, 0.8 Blocks
Power Forward: Gordon Hayward
I put Gordon Hayward at the four because he will be switching off with Tatum throughout the season. And that's if Hayward starts. We could see some games started by Robert Williams, but Hayward will start most of the season. This year will be another great step in his recovery as he looks to build off of the end of last year. In his last 14 games played he averaged 14.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while being efficient and careful with the ball. We should see a big step in virtually every statistical column as his confidence grows. Like his teammates, he could be thought of when listing MIP candidates. He probablt won't make an All-Star appearance this year, but the road to recovery has shortened and the future seems bright.
Projected Per Game Stats: 15.5 Points, 5.5 Assists, 6 Rebounds, 1.1 Steals, 0.4 Blocks
Center: Enes Kanter
A new Boston Celtics fan favorite, Enes Kanter will help fill the void left by Al Horford. The underrated big was snagged by the Celtics for only $5 Million per year, the cheapest starter on this list. The last time he got around 30 minutes per game, he averaged over 18 points and 11 rebounds. We can expect similar production this year. He will bring great paint scoring on offense, and amazing rebounding on both ends. While he won't receive any awards next year, he will definitely be an important player for the Celtics. And who knows, maybe he can help mold Tacko into a star center...