Mark Aboyoun: I’m interested in the battle between Dalano Banton and Payton Pritchard. Both guards will be looking tobe the third point guard to get minutes behind Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White. Will Joe Mazzulla prefer a taller point guard in Banton (6’7) or will he trust Pritchard who is known more for his offensive scoring than his defensive presence.
Jack Simone: The wings. After spending most of last season with solely Sam Hauser backing up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown at the wing, and him failing to earn playoff minutes, the Celtics brought in a ton of options. Oshae Brissett, Jordan Walsh, Svi Mykhailiuk, and even Dalano Banton could compete with Hauser for backup wing minutes. Hauser should be the first option consider how well he played last year, but the rest of that group will have something to prove during training camp.
Benjamin Torbert: I tend to think Hauser and Pritchard are going to be more locked in to the 8-9 rotation spots than it might look from the outside. We all know how much Mazzulla values the 3 ball, and I think it’s telling that Stevens factored opening up opportunity for Pritchard into his offseason plan (his comments about trading guard depth for size). With a fairly clear top 9 in my mind, the battle for the 10th, fringe rotation spot should be a wide open competition between Brissett, Walsh, Svi, and Stevens. Brissett would be my leader in the clubhouse to take that role early in the year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back and forth between candidates throughout the year.
Noa Dalzell: The wings for sure. After the team lacked wing depth last season, Brad Stevens made it a priority to acquire an eclectic group of wing players who will battle for rotation spots. Jordan Walsh captured fans’ hearts at summer league, but at 19 years old, he will most likely spend a lot of time in Maine this winter. Oshae Brissett and Lamar Stevens both bring high-energy and defensive prowess, and Svi Mykhailiuk brings solid three-point shooting and a decent amount of NBA experience. Still, all three will have to overtake Sam Hauser in the rotation to see meaningful on-court action, who had a breakthrough season last year. I’m looking forward to seeing how these low-risk signings play out, and if anyone emerges as an impact player.
Ben Dupont: I’ll go a different direction - I’m interested in who gets the starting nod between Al Horford and Robert Williams. Not a traditional ‘camp battle,’ but it’s the biggest question affecting Boston’s top 7. Starting Horford could let the C’s get hot from 3 early, and he does deserve the spot as a leader of the team. They could try to start Horford and then play him fewer minutes the rest of the game, like Kevin Love on the Heat. On the other hand, Williams is looking to make a jump this year. If the Celtics trust him to do that, they should let him play with both of the Jays as much as possible. Regardless of who they go with, Boston will have a big man rotation few teams will want to go up against.
Sam LaFrance: For me, it’s the bench-forward spot. After bringing in Lamar Stevens they’ve got what, six guys that could fit the bill now? Stevens, Svi, Walsh, Hauser, Banton, Brisett. I suppose it’ll be a situational thing for a little bit, but I hope that either Stevens, Walsh, or Brisett proves to be versatile enough to make an impact. In order for that to happen, they’re going to have to knock down threes at a consistent clip. So, we’ll see.
Mike Dynon: It won’t actually be a battle, but there’s a choice to be made between Al Horford and Robert Williams – who will be in the starting lineup? Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis are locks to start, leaving one spot for Al or Rob. Which one will get starter minutes? Which will mesh best with the bench group? Considering that someone always seems hurt or scheduled for rest, it may not even matter. From night to night, expect any number of Celtics to step into that fifth starting spot.
Daniel Poarch: As someone who is all the way in on Jordan Walsh as a potential contributor, I think he’s in for a very interesting battle with guys like Sam Hauser and Oshae Brissett for minutes behind Tatum and Brown. Walsh plays defense in a way that I think will be hard to deny, and even if the Celtics opt not to throw the rookie in there right away, I have a strong feeling he’ll be playing real minutes before the season’s end. Also in the mix are Lamar Stevens and Svi Mykhailiuk, who are a pair of reasonable swings on journeymen that can add some different dynamics to the mix. It’s all about surviving those rare stretches where Tatum hits the bench, and the Celtics would like to see at least one or two of these guys come up with a breakthrough season.
Bobby Manning: Definitely the wings. Hauser played well enough last year to enter as the favorite to back up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but Boston brought a diverse enough array of wings to make the bench units look different on a nearly nightly basis. There’s a world where Hauser takes the next step and remains a nightly player. Oshae Brissett could surpass everyone. It wouldn’t even stun me if Jordan Walsh emerges out of this group. Lamar Stevens, Svi Mykhailiuk and the rest of the perimeter players all enter at a relatively even overall talent level. They all just do different things. I’m intrigued.
Trevor Hass: I’ll go with Jordan Walsh vs. Sam Hauser. Barring a twist, Hauser will play, but can Walsh crack the rotation as a rookie? Does he have a shot to steal some of Hauser’s minutes when the Celtics want a more defensive-minded lineup? Hauser’s no slouch defensively, but Walsh’s length and defensive versatility make him an intriguing option. Walsh will never shoot at Hauser’s clip, but if he can hit 3’s regularly, there’s a case to be made that he should get the nod in certain situations.