We’ve already discussed the starting and finishing lineups (and I’m sure we’ll debate it again... a few dozen times or so, before training camp). What I wanted to do today, however, is to get a little creative. Let’s talk about some additional lineups that Stevens could employ during the course of the game. Some of these are serious, some are emoji-level silly. I’m not a coach or a scout, but I play one on the Internet, so let’s have some fun with this.
5-Out Shooters: Thomas | Hayward | Tatum | Crowder | Horford
Gordon Hayward and Jae Crowder each shot 39.8% from 3-point land last year. Thomas wasn’t far behind with 37.9%. Horford shot a solid 35.5%, and Tatum projects to be a pretty adept shooter from long range. The Celtics were 3rd in the league last year in terms of percentage of 3-pointers taken, so they’ve clearly embraced the long ball. It is nice to have so many guys that can hit the shot with regularity and thus stretch out defenses to their breaking point.
Chairmen of the Boards: Smart | Hayward | Crowder | Baynes | Zizic
One thing the Celtics were NOT good at last year was rebounding. If there’s a play where Boston absolutely, positively has to get a board, this lineup might be a good short-term solution. This is right in Zizic’s wheelhouse, and Baynes can create some space as well. Crowder was the team’s second-ranked rebounder last year (6.4 per game, behind Horford’s 6.6) and Hayward pulled down a surprising 6.1 per game for Utah. Smart averaged 4.7 per game, which is very respectable for a point guard, and frankly, there’s nobody I’d rather send out on a mission for a loose ball more than Smart.
Extreme Length: Hayward | Brown | Tatum | Morris | Horford
Last year the Celtics were a rather small team, in particular in terms of the top end of the rotation. There were times when Marcus Smart had to defend small forwards, and when we played the Bucks, their rangy length gave us fits. Now the Celtics have lots of length, in particular on the wings. This lineup would be a sea of arms and legs that could switch on anything. It probably isn’t a long-term solution, but it would take an offense a few plays to figure out how to attack it.
Extreme Smallball: Thomas | Rozier | Smart | Ojeleye | Theis
Just for fun, if you wanted to go in the complete opposite direction, you could still go really small and quick. Thomas and Rozier have the quickness to get past anyone and Smart can (in a pinch) play against forwards. Semi is a little short for a big, but he makes up for it in beef and hops. Theis is listed at center at 6’9” so in theory he could man the paint in this lineup.
The Kids are Alright: Rozier | Brown | Tatum | Ojeleye | Zizic
I’d almost be disappointed if we don’t see this lineup at least once in preseason. You could swap in Yabusele for Semi here as well.
Gino Time (garbage time): Rozier | Nader | Yabusele | Ojeleye | Theis
I almost hate putting Rozier in here, but someone needs to bring the ball up, and Demetrius Jackson is gone. Then again, the idea of the Dancing Bear bringing the ball up has some entertainment value.
Bullyball: Smart | Yabusele | Ojeleye | Banes | Zizic
It wouldn’t be pretty, but it would be pretty scary.
Js and Marcuses: Jaylen | Jayson | Jae | Marcus | Marcus
That’s all I’ve got for today, but please feel free to add your own creative lineups in the comments below.