The wait is almost over, Celtics fans.
The regular season is getting closer and closer, but first, they have one final preseason game against the Raptors on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Frankly, the stakes couldn’t be lower, but there’s still a lot to watch for as they try to finalize their roster and get certain players involved. Here are three storylines to follow:
Will Luke Kornet return to action?
It seems likely that Kornet will get some playing time Friday night – at least he should, assuming he’s able to.
As he eases back onto the court, it would be wise to play him 10-to-15 minutes against the Raptors so he gets a trial run in before the regular season.
Even though Kornet has played 30 games for the Celtics and is a six-year NBA veteran, this feels almost like an audition. It probably shouldn’t be viewed that way, because he’s coming back from an injury, but the reality is that he’ll have more eyeballs on him than he typically would.
This is the best opportunity he could possibly imagine, and it starts Friday night as he tries to endear himself to Celtics fans and convince them that they’re in good hands.
Can anyone solidify their spot on the roster?
If you’re a diehard fan, you probably know every player the Celtics have brought in and waived this week. If you’re a casual fan, don't worry about getting caught up in the minutiae of the NBA preseason.
Here’s what’s most important: It seems more likely than not that Noah Vonleh will stick around. He deserves to, and the Celtics need someone like him. He has one final audition Friday night.
Justin Jackson and Jake Layman are also in the mix for one of the final roster spots. Jackson was lights-out in the second half against the Hornets. Layman has shown his ability to get to the rim but has had trouble finishing in traffic.
Both players are long, athletic and mobile. Jackson is more of a shooter, and Layman is more of a slasher, though each is capable of mixing it up as well. While Jackson appears to be the front-runner, Layman still has a shot.
Will they let JD Davison log extended minutes?
Assuming Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White all sit, and Payton Pritchard logs fewer minutes (someone may have to drag him off the court), that should theoretically leave an opportunity for JD Davison to finally get more playing time.
He played six minutes in the first preseason game (4 points, 4 assists), none in the second and six in the third. Let the kid play! This is a chance for him to show he belongs. He has to be itching for a chance to get out there and play ball. There’s no better time than this.
He has a bright future, and this could be the first true glimpse into just how bright.