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Lineups, matchups, and rookie awards: Optimistic mailbag answers

My answers to your questions about the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

Some of you were kind enough to post mailbag questions. Here are my answers:


Do you think...

That 76er fans are secretly very nervous about this coming Wednesday? In the Brad Stevens era the Celtics have had the 76ers # and Brad has continually outcoached Brett Brown throughout those matchups. What are your thoughts on how we match up with them? Do we go small and try to run Embiid and Al off the floor at times? Personally I think Theis in the starting lineup paired with JB, JT, GH will be a group that can play a lot of help defense on guys like Embiid and will be able to do it quite effectively. What are your thoughts on that? Sorry I have about 900 other questions so I’ll stop here :blush:

No, frankly I don’t think they are all that nervous. They have an MVP candidate in Embiid and some pretty good high end players surrounding him. I think Brown is a very good coach as well. In the past, one of the reasons we were able to perform well against the Sixers was due to the awesome play by Al Horford, who happens to be on the other team this time.

There are some interesting matchups though. How will Stevens try to exploit Ben Simmons lack of outside shooting without Horford or Baynes? Will they try to draw Embiid away from the hoop by having Theis shoot 3’s? Or go at him to draw fouls? How often will he go to a smallball lineup? If they can’t find a way to limit the Sixers scoring, will he elect for a more offensive lineup to try to outscore them? It will be an interesting chess match from start to finish.


end of game...who sits? in end of game situations where we need true big on the floor, who sits so Smart can be on the floor?

I think unless there’s a dominant big on the other team (like Embiid or Jokic) the Celtics probably finish with their best 5 players. Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward. That means all the bigs sit and we roll with smallball. If you really need a big on the floor, I think Hayward might be the odd man out (but it would likely depend on who’s got the hot hand that day).


Which one of our rookies have the best chance to win ROTY?

The realistic answer is none of them, but in the spirit of optimism I’ll go out on a limb and pick Carsen Edwards. It isn’t likely, but if Zion were to miss significant time with injuries and Ja Morant struggled early on, the field would be wide open. Now imagine Edwards just keeps bombing away and scoring in bunches, contributing to the Celtics getting a high seed in the regular season. He’s got the kind of dynamic game that could capture people’s attention. Theoretically it could happen, ...just not very likely.


Which center gets the plurality of minutes this season?

I tend to think that Kanter will still get the most minutes, even if he’s not starting (or even finishing) games. He’s perfectly suited to beating up on second line defenders. The rest of the centers could each have their day in the sun, but on the aggregate we know within reason what to expect from Enes.


Why will Romeo win ROY and MVP

Because G-League awards are easier to win than NBA ones.


Why will BOS easily win more than 80 games in regular season

Because they play 82 games in a season and since they’ll never lose, this is really easy math.


Who currently on the roster will not be on the roster as we head into the playoffs?

Good question. I’m going to say Semi Ojeleye if only because he’s likely to get passed on the depth chart by Grant Williams and he’s a likely candidate to be put into a trade for salary purposes. Other candidates for trade filler would be Brad Wanamaker, Javonte Green, or any of the centers. If there’s a straight cut to make room for a free agent pickup, I would imagine Green gets the ax following “last hired, first fired” logic.

Thanks for the questions everyone!

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