The NBA preseason for the Celtics is set to begin 12/15 against the Doc Rivers led 76ers, but there are a few dynamics that will be interesting.
The NBA came up with a way to still fit in some games before the actual regular season begins. Although, the timing of these games is pretty close together and short. Meaning that doesn’t expect too many minutes from the starters to play. However, that does not mean these games aren’t important in evaluating a few things.
How Celtic Rookies Will Do This NBA Preseason
One of the most important questions of any NBA preseason game is how the rookies will fair. The game is much faster and longer than a college game. Throw in that March Madness was canceled. One may have some rusty young guys. But that doesn’t mean there’s any slack given to them. If they want to play on this highly regarded Celtics squad, they’ll need to produce here first.
The shooter Aaron Nesmith out of Vanderbilt has had a good training camp according to Brad Stevens. “I really like what I’ve seen so far from his ability to learn from things day-to-day and apply them the next day,” said Stevens. Although it’s still unsure whether he’ll be in the rotation, the coach still has an eye on him. As far as Payton Pritchard out of Oregon, it’s possible a finger issue suffered in practice may take him out for the start. But the two young shooters will need the preseason to prove themselves.
How Will They Do Without Kemba Walker?
The 9-year veteran is still recovering from a knee injury. So he won’t be able to play this preseason and most likely the start of the regular season. Walker also played through injuries during the Celtics playoff run last season. With him out, it’ll be interesting to see who will be the starting point guard moving forward.
With new signee Jeff Teague, he’s almost a shoo-in for the starting job. However, if we’ve learned anything it’s that chemistry means a lot. Perhaps Marcus Smart will start just like he did in the playoffs when Hayward was out. Aside from being a good six-man he also can run the offense. Not to mention he’s clearly the leader on a defense that makes this team scrappy. Or perhaps Stevens will give some of these young guys a chance.
If Any Young Guys Take That Next Leap…
With the absence of Gordon Hayward, Brad Wannamaker, and Enes Kanter, plus Walker out, someone needs to step up. Danny Ainge and Stevens will hope it’ll come from the young guys who aren’t rookies anymore. Stevens was already unsure whether the new rookies are getting time because he has a good group of young guys. Tremont Waters, Tacko Fall, Robert Williams, and more are all fully capable of making an impact.
The development of Robert Williams will be the most interesting. A 6’8 guy with a 7’6 wingspan can be a problem with the right tools. And the 23-year-old can also jump out of the gym. Last year in the postseason we’ve seen him give good energy off the bench. Tacko Fall is also 7’5. The fight for the frontcourt will be interesting. That’s why this NBA preseason is so important for Boston.