To have a great starting lineup is important, but a championship team also needs a solid bench behind them. The Celtics brought in some great players, like Carsen Edwards, in the offseason to strengthen out a weakened bench. We should see the younger players make their case for starting spots next season as contracts near their conclusions and players get older. Here are individual projections for the main players in the bench unit.
Point Guard: Carsen Edwards
The Celtics drafted Carsen most likely with the assumption that Rozier would leave in the summer. As you probably know, Rozier did end up running to the Hornets on a lucrative deal. The Celtics will definitely use Edwards in a role similar, if not exactly, like Rozier’s was. Carsen’s boost off the bench could be tremendous, as his energy on offense may have more of an impact than Rozier ever had. His offense is his greatest asset, but his shot choice needs improvement. That same energy makes him great at pressuring the ball handler, partially shown by his steal numbers. His upside is tremendous, but his career is hard to predict. At least for this season we know he should be very valuable.
Projected Per Game Stats: 9.5 Points, 2 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 1 Steal, 0.2 Blocks
Shooting Guard: Marcus Smart
If he doesn’t start, which he very well could, then Marcus Smart‘s talents will be on display as the backup SG. Smart continues to improve year after year in all areas, besides rebounding where he hasn’t really changed. His efficiency scoring the ball has improved to the point where he is not a hindrance, but instead a top option on the bench. I see him once again taking a jump in all categories, and his defense will continue to be deserving of 1st team All-Defensive honors. He may even start the season off on the bench, before taking over as the starter for one reason or another.
Projected Per Game Stats: 9 Points, 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1.8 Steals, 0.4 Blocks
Small Forward: Romeo Langford
Like Edwards, it is hard to predict how a rookie will adjust to the NBA. What also makes this prediction difficult is the fact that the Celtics don’t have a clear backup small forward. It could be Ojeleye, but I don’t honestly think he is good enough for around 15 minutes a night. Now who I DO think is good enough is Romeo Langford. Yes, he is a shooting guard. But he is a bit big for that position, and could transition to SF without too much trouble.
He played good enough last year to earn a lottery selection. And that was with a thumb injury which deeply affected his game. Once he is healed, I see him as a great and efficient scorer, solid rebounder, passer, and defender. Also, like Carsen, Romeo’s ceiling is very high. It will be truly interesting to see if Langford can rebound from his injury as well as handle professional basketball.
Projected Per Game Stats: 8.5 Points, 3 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.6 Steals, 0.6 Blocks
Power Forward: Robert Williams
If the Celtics elect to have a smaller starting lineup with Hayward as a starter, then Robert Williams will be coming off the bench next year. Though either way, his role will improve from last year. Williams will balance out the bench defensively, and may be the best rebounder of the unit. While he isn’t amazing on offense, he doesn’t have to be with all of the talent surrounding him. He should take a great enough step in his sophomore year to finally show why he was a first round pick.
Projected Per Game Stats: 5 Points, 5 Rebounds, 0.4 Assists, 0.6 Steals, 2.5 Blocks
Center: Vincent Poirier
With Kanter staying and Tacko barely hanging onto the roster, Vincent Poirier is the only real option to backup the center position. He shows a solid big man offensive game, and even without a deep game he is still a solid asset on that side of the ball. He also has a great rebounding and defensive game, which is most likely why Steven’s and Ainge took notice of Vincent in the first place. Poirier will be in this role for most if not all of the whole season, depending on if Fall takes a huge leap in development. The French big man should fit right in to this contending Celtics squad.