I'm reluctant to put this article together due to major roster volatility but it looks like Danny and Mike are done making moves for now. As of July 2nd, here's how I see the depth chart:
Center : Kanter, Poirier, R Williams III
PF: Tatum, Theis, Ojeleye, Yabusele, G Williams
SF: Hayward, Langford
SG: Brown, Smart
PG: Walker, Wannamaker, Edwards
You could slot Theis at the Center position too since he plays as a small ball five for our needs. New rookie addition Grant Williams has had some Draymond comparisons but I see him as our 6'7 Smart without the ball handling. He's probably versatile enough to play positions 3,4,5 once he learns our schemes. Might not be that long of a learning curve if he's as sharp as scouted. Smart of course can play both guard positions and though not ideal, can spot a few minutes at SF.
Now, this is how I see our Regular Season Rotation
Smart, Poirier, Theis, Wannamaker
Kanter is our starting center unless Poirier and/or Timelord prove themselves to be much better options. It's Kanter's job to lose especially if he's too much of a defensive liability. I see him succeeding though as his rebounding superpowers are sorely needed. Teams last season converted multiple scoring opportunities on missed shots, it drove both our players and our fans crazy. Smart is the first guard off the bench. We all know what he can do and can easily fill in for Brown or Walker. The first big off the bench is Theis since he knows the system so well. If Poirier is a quick study, I'd prefer him over Theis for his size and rebounding. Wannamaker could thrive with Terry gone and easily take his role.
The main issue I see with this starting/bench lineup is a lack of scoring off the bench. Unless Wannamaker can play as a microwave scorer, Smart, Poirier and Theis aren't suited for that role. It might be best to move Hayward to the bench and have him be that scorer but the team is looking for Gordon to be more of a point forward that facilitates offense. Moving Brown to the bench would be a big issue for him as he was struggling and lost for most of last season with the addition of Hayward. If he's not happy and struggles again, trader Danny should be quick to take action and stamp out any disfunction.
Here's an adjusted lineup with Hayward off the bench:
Hayward, Smart, Theis, Wannamaker
Poirier starting would be our version of Domantas Sabonis. We'll lack spacing since Kanter and Poirier can't shoot 3's but we can pound the ball inside with both big men being strong finishers at the rim and we'll win the majority of rebounding wars. Hayward provides 15 to 20 points off the bench going up against 2nd stringers, Smart will do his thing. Theis can give either Kanter or Poirier a rest.
Here's my projection for Minutes per Game:
MINUTES PER GAME:
Kanter - 28 mp
Tatum - 31 mp
Hayward - 28 mp
Brown - 28 mp
Walker - 33 mp
Smart - 27 mp
Wannamaker - 22 mp
Poirier - 16 mp
Theis - 12 mp
Ojeleye - 10 mp
I based most of these minutes off of what our guys averaged last season. Kanter as the starting center will get Al's minutes. Al was load managed and missed a few games so I'd want to do the same with Kanter. Enes took a beating in the playoffs and he's still recovering from a shoulder injury so I don't want him averaging over 30 minutes a game. Tatum's minutes are the same as last year. Hayward and Brown both averaged 25.9 mpg last season, I gave them a slight bump up to 28 with Morris gone. Those minutes could go up to 30, even with Hayward off the bench. Kemba will get Kyrie's 33 mpg. Smart's minutes should stay the same. Wannamaker gets Rozier's minutes and I'm confident he'll make the right plays. Poirier gets All of Australia's minutes and that could bump up to 18 or 20 if he performs well. Theis gets the same from last year but could flip minutes with Poirier if Vincent doesn't adapt. Ojeleye will get spot minutes again. Rob, Yabu and the rookies will get Gino time.
NO TIME for Ojeleye, Yabu and Time Lord?
Before Walker and the Euro League reinforcements were added, we were looking like a pure rebuilding team. I was expecting to see Rob, Semi and Guerschon get 20 minutes a night in their roles and see how far that takes us or at the very least see what potential they truly have. Unless we get hit with insane major freak injuries (not impossible considering how many players got season ending injuries last season) I don't see them getting any major playing time. Could be time to move Semi and Guerschon to a club where they can get an opportunity to show they belong in the league. Rob's a long term project worth developing.
What pieces are we missing?
I think we could use a backup SF/SG scorer, Langford's skill set and size is ideal but he's not ready for that role yet. We need some insurance there incase Hayward, Brown and Tatum go down with long term injuries.
How far can this club go?
If roles are established early and guys are comfortable and accepting of those roles, the team should do well. We're not as talented as last year but a good environment will boost everyone's games. Brad will tinker with lineups as he always does. Let's hope he works out the bugs early. I just want to see this team on solid footing coming out of the gate. The East is tough enough without Durant healthy or Kawhi undecided. The mountain that is Antetokounmpo could be too difficult a climb. Philly is a defensive wall with all those tall trees. I'm not sure what to make of Miami, is Butler all about that Miami party life? All it takes is an injury at an inopportune time to one of their stars and the Celtics should be there, hopefully healthy and ready to pounce, eagerly welcoming their foes to The Jungle come the playoffs.