All I wanted was to keep together the same basic team from last year and run it back. By re-signing Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes and not making any other substantial moves, it appears that the Celtics are doing just that. (Note that it is only mid-July and a lot can change by October)
Let’s take this opportunity to break down the roster (at a high level). I’m ignoring the cap dynamics and luxury tax implications for the moment.
Starting 5: Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford
Here’s what I wrote about the starting 5 as the offseason kicked off a month ago:
Offensively, that’s 5 guys that can stretch the floor, 2 are elite level shot creators, 2 are Swiss army knives, and 1 is a relentless bulldog with athleticism to spare. There’s a beautiful blend of buoyant youth, veteran savvy, and Gumby-like flexibility in that group. The passing and spacing could create ping-pong ball movement leading to wide open 3’s or dunks. At the same time, if you need a bucket, there are multiple options to call upon to make iso-magic happen. Then on defense, that’s a lot of long, laterally quick, intelligent thinkers between the ball and the hoop.
Man I can’t wait to see that group on the floor on a consistent basis. Let’s move on.
Rotation Bench: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis
At first I was going to try to break these down into traditional positions, but that didn’t work. Then I tried doing Brad’s “ball handlers, wings, swings, bigs” breakdown, but that didn’t even work. And that’s kind of the beauty of this roster, right? Is Ojeleye a swing or a big? Is Rozier a ball handler or wing? Marcus Smart is at any one time a combination of all of the above. There are so many talented, heady, hard working guys in this group that coach Stevens can mix and match depending on the opponent and situation. Down the line each of them can defend multiple positions at a high level. They aren’t a high volume scoring bunch, but they can be a wonderful group of support players to rotate in around the starters.
Deep Bench: Robert Williams III, Guerschon Yabusele, Brad Wanamaker, Jabari Bird*
These names may or may not change by the start of preseason (I’m leaving Abdel Nader, Shane Larkin, and Greg Monroe off this list because I presume they won’t be back). Each of them figures to spend quality time in Maine with the Red Claws but each could be useful in the event of an injury.
Robert Williams III has the kind of hops and length to plug in for a different kind of look. Yabu has the size and nimble feet to contribute if he can continue to develop his defense. Wanamaker fills the Shane Larkin role (with more size). Bird gives us athleticism and depth on the wing.
Again, all this could change if the Celtics decide to make a move for tax reasons or add a free agent to the mix that they couldn’t pass up. But if the C’s brass wraps up some paperwork and takes the rest of the summer off, I’d be plenty happy with this squad headed into the Fall.