CBS Sports published two articles where their writers ranked the best starting lineups and benches across the league. In the first article, they ranked the Celtics starting lineup as the 7th best in the league. Not too bad.
For those curious, they projected Amir Johnson next to Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder. I would probably put Olynyk in at the tip in order to have Johnson’s defensive presence on the 2nd unit, but I’m happy to defer to whatever Brad Stevens decides.
Perhaps more interesting was the fact that the Celtics ranked even higher in the Benches article. In fact, they were ranked 3rd overall (behind Utah and Golden State).
Here’s what they said about Boston.
The versatility on Boston's bench is pretty exciting. Jerebko and Olynyk can both play multiple positions, are fine defenders and can stretch the floor with their shooting. Tyler Zeller is rugged and smart. Marcus Smart could be a starter for several teams and his tenacious play has become a hallmark of Brad Stevens' Celtics. Even Jaylen Brown should be able to make a difference in his rookie season. The Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the league and their bench will likely carry them at times this season.
Of course the Celtics were pretty deep already last year but lacked the star power at the top of the lineup. Adding Horford not only helps the starters but helps push talented players into the 2nd unit.
CBS makes a good point about the versatility of the bench as well. They can play big or small. Stevens can sub in for offense or defense depending on the situation. The article didn’t even mention Terry Rozier who could/should turn a few heads with his quickness and burst of speed. Gerald Green also can add some shooting from the bench.
All of these factors add up to a pretty deep team this year—which is always a good thing.
Another (hopefully good thing) to look for is yours truly as a guest on the CBS Eye On Basketball podcast with Zach Harper. That should be posted sometime today. So there’s that too.