The question that has lingered on fans’ minds for weeks now has been “who will be the starters?” The obvious choices included Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford.
We heard rumblings that the team was leaning toward starting Horford at the 5 and it seems like we got confirmation when Al said he didn’t mind playing center. That probably means that Marcus Morris will be starting at the 4 next to him.
So that leaves the shooting guard spot up for grabs. Apparently that’s something that Brad Stevens was debating when he called Marcus Smart in for his opinion. You could excuse Marcus if he was hoping to be a starter, in particular during his contract year. But he went the other way and volunteered to come off the bench.
"Coach Stevens called me in and he was talking to me, and debating whether to start me or take me off the bench," Smart said after practice Tuesday afternoon. "I told him in that meeting to bring me off the bench: 'That's OK. You don't have to start me.'"
"On that second unit, we have a lot of guys that are new, younger and trying to learn Brad's philosophies on the offensive and defensive end. Guys are still learning plays. I've been here, so I know all the plays at every position. I'm coaching those guys and allowing those guys to figure it out, but they are also coming to me to help."
Smart seems to be embracing a leadership role and an opportunity to use his status as longest tenured Celtic to teach up the young kids on the 2nd unit.
So the question (appears) to have been answered. When the games start for real, the starting lineup will likely be Irving, Smart, Hayward, Morris, and Horford. At least until (or if) Brad changes his mind. Who finishes the games will largely depend on who has the hot hand and the better matchups for that night.