The Boston Celtics seem to finally have their 15-man roster set to go for the 2019-20 season. With a roster full of guys with a need to prove themselves, who starts? The rotation will be rife with young guys with unlimited potential. Here’s a look at how the rotation at each position should shake out. Note: Players designated with a “*” are the starter at their respective position. The player designated with a “(6)” are the team’s “sixth man” in overall rotation.
Point Guard: Kemba Walker*, Carsen Edwards, Brad Wanamaker
The Boston Celtics were expected to have a problem at PG when Kyrie Irving left to join the Brooklyn Nets. They immediately rectified that by doing a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets for All-Star Kemba Walker. Walker had his best season last year and is hitting the peak of his career. He is expected to be one of the teams best players and likely the primary ball handler when he is on the court. Walker should also bring leadership for this young core. Summer League fans likely know all about the offensive dynamo that is Carsen Edwards. After an amazing March Madness run, Edwards showed he wasn’t a flash in the pan by lighting up Summer League scoreboards. Edwards is likely the #2 PG because of his defensive ability and shot-creating skill-set. Brad Wanamaker was a “Brad Stevens guy” who looked decent in limited minutes last season. He likely will find himself in a similar situation this year behind Kemba and Carsen.
Shooting Guard: Jaylen Brown*, Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford
The Celtics’ youth movement begins at the shooting guard position. Jaylen Brown has shown his ability to be a star player in Brad Stevens’ system. His off-ball ability makes him a great fit alongside projected starter Kemba Walker. Brown is your prototypical 3-and-D wing player with explosive driving ability. He is a team player and can to a multitude of things on the floor, making his case as the starter easier to make. Marcus Smart is coming off an All-NBA Defensive first-team season and is a clear front-runner to be behind Brown in the rotation. His lack of shooting is well documented, but his defense and basketball IQ are what make him a lock for minutes. He can come off the bench and effectively lead the offense on the floor. Rookie Romeo Langford is recovering from a thumb injury and may not be ready for the start of the season. Expect him to play a limited role, but his offensive capabilities may lead to more minutes down the road.
Small Forward: Jayson Tatum*, Gordon Hayward(6), Semi Ojeleye
The starting 3 is Jayson Tatum‘s spot for the taking. Tatum is the undisputed future of the Boston Celtics, and with good reason. Tatum possesses a deep arsenal of offensive moves that make him a defensive nightmare. Coupled with the fact he’s only 21 years old, and the sky is the limit. Gordon Hayward was once upon a time an NBA All-Star and the Celtics top free agent signing. Another year removed from his horrific ankle injury and mediocre play should see Hayward almost back to his old self, and a reliable scoring machine off the bench. Semi Ojeleye won’t play unless someone is injured, but is a quality depth piece that Stevens really likes.
Power Forward: Daniel Theis/Gordon Hayward*, Grant Williams
This is where some moving pieces come into play. Grant Williams is the only pure power forward on the team. He’s an ideal fit in Brad Steven’s system, with a great 3-pt shot and top-level defense. As a rookie, it may be hard for him to find the court due to lack of experience with top-level competition. He will most likely play a rotational role and maybe work his way into sixth-man minutes. That leaves us with Stevens favorites in Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis. Theis is an undersized center with good offensive capability, but is a defensive liability. Hayward may not have the prototypical size for the 4, but he knows the system best and has All-Star talent. Expect that Hayward and Theis split starts here, with Williams coming off the bench.
Center: Enes Kanter*, Vincent Poirier, Robert Williams, Tacko Fall
The Boston Celtics biggest question mark after Al Horford left has a plethora of options. Enes Kanter looks like the favorite to start, due to his veteran experience and rebounding ability. He may play the least starter minutes due to depth at the position. Vincent Poirier is a European export who has had a lot of offseason hype. We haven’t seen a lot of Poirier in NBA action, but he did spend the offseason training with superstar Rudy Gobert. Robert Williams looked like a defensive beast in the Summer League and had excellent passing skills. His relative inexperience and struggles could keep him out of serious playing time. Tacko Fall is a 7’6″ project that is kept for long-term development with likely no playing time.