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Preseason mailbag: predictions, lineups, and great hair

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Gordon Hayward has some great hair... for a no-mag.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I asked for Mailbag questions a few days ago and I’m finally getting around to answering them. Hope you enjoy.

terd ferguson's hat

If Marcus Smart is coming off of the bench, who is the "Defensive Leader" of the starting 5?

I think Jaylen Brown is going to be counted on to provide some defense on the perimeter and Al Horford and Marcus Morris (assuming he starts) will have to provide the paint protection.

deftouch

Do you think it would be better to start both Brown & Tatum, allowing the vets to carry them when necessary, and bring Smart and Morris off the bench to bring some fire power off the bench?

Morris is still getting up to speed so you might just see Stevens start the season with that lineup and I must say, Jayson Tatum looks very comfortable out there. Ultimately I think Morris still gets the starting nod but Tatum might just establish himself as too good to sit.

Vagmi Bhagavathula

What is your bold prediction coming into this season for the Celtics?

The Celtics won’t be terrible at rebounding. I mean, they don’t have a traditional big outside of Baynes, but they are long and athletic and could rebound from the perimeter positions. Not saying they’ll be great at it, or even top half of the league, but I could see them improving into an average rebounding team.

86 Celtics GOAT

What kind of Point Guard does Kyrie Need to Be?

I think he’ll do a lot of the looks that Isaiah Thomas got last year. He can score in isolation but that doesn’t have to be his whole game. He can play off the ball but you don’t want to limit him to just catch-and-shoot opportunities. I tend to think that this offense is going to open up new looks for him and he’s going to make the offense click that much better.

mightaswellshootme

Will we be hearing Tommy shouting Yabu-dabadoo! during games this season?

Man, I hope so.

VtCeltics

How many games will the Celtics win in the regular season?

How far will they go in the playoffs?

Who will be the biggest positive surprise?

Who will be the biggest negative surprise?

I’m sticking with a conservative 50 wins and a hopeful trip to the Eastern Conference Finals where they’ll put up a better fight this year. I think Terry Rozier might be the biggest positive surprise and I guess any injuries would qualify as the biggest negative. I’m also starting to get skeptical about how ready Semi or Yabu are to contribute any time soon. They seem raw.

StrangerFoundInTheAlps

Will the Lakers 2018 pick convey to the Celtics?

I think it might. They’ll be pretty bad in the West and if they get into that bottom 5 it will boil down to lottery luck.

waynefelch

Will Tatum average 10 points a game this year?

Is that all?

justin_c

For the last couple of seasons, we had some good hairdos on the team – Jerebko, Jae, Young, Kelly’s man bun/locks, pre-shave Smart’s blond mohawk, and even IT’s headband. Now it seems other than Jaylen’s flattop and Hayward’s combover, we have no tonsorial "character". Who will be the new Celtic to come up with a signature hairstyle?

Well, so far Gordon Hayward and Aron Baynes are both sporting the slicked back / shaved sides hair popularized by Colin Farrell in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Old Hondo

Marcus Smart: Does he extend? When? For how much?

I think ultimately they’ll get an extension done in the next week. Something in the teens per year. But at this point it is anyone’s guess.

BHCELTICS

Did we overrate Jaylen Brown a little bit? Doesn’t look as ready (or as good) as I thought he would.

I guess it depends on what you are/were expecting from Brown. I’ve set my expectations at: good defender, can hit corner 3’s, finish in transition, and working on developing the rest of his offensive game. On a team with 3 other stars and a rising offensive phenom, that’s exactly what you need. If you are hoping for him to be the next Scottie Pippen this year, then you might want to pump the breaks.

dylan&townes

Where does Brad Stevens rank among NBA coaches in your opinion? And does he have a legit chance to win coach of the year this season?

Right in the top tier. He’s one of the best and he should at least be considered for the award. I think there are a lot of good coaches and a lot of factors will play into which narrative wins out. But Stevens is one of the best and I think he’ll be a mainstay in Boston for many years to come.

TitanCeltic

What’s the most likely final trade. There’s one final nail in this coffin. AD? Kristaps? Not willing to risk your credibility?

When you’ve written as many words as I have and made as many pointless predictions as I have, “credibility” is hardly a concern. I think people have made up their minds about me for good or bad at this point.

To the question, I think they’ll certainly try to pry Anthony Davis out of New Orleans but it could take years for that option to become available so they’ll just have to be patient and see how it shakes out.

Till then I’ll be pretty happy to watch Kyrie, Gordon, and Al shine while Jaylen and Jayson learn on the fly.