Roster Reset

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Post by bobheckler Sun Oct 01, 2023 5:18 pm

RosalieTCeltics wrote:just tell me, how many slots are open here?  One, two????  They sent out 2 got one back. And there was still a slot open before the trade, am I right?   Blake still pondering retirement but Brad has said the door is always open for him to return if he decides to. But? is he the answer, or are we already searching for another Big


Rosalie,

One slot open.  I'm reading people posting the Gabriel signing is a camp contract.

There are several non-guaranteed contracts that are expected to stick (e.g. Banton).  Assuming they do, and Gabriel is just a camp contract, we are at 14.


Bob


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Post by steve3344 Sun Oct 01, 2023 5:21 pm

BingBang! wrote:Aaron Baynes just put up a 20-20 game in the down-under league. Worth a look? 12 minutes a night of hard nosed center play with some skill; 20 minutes when they play Golden State.
Aaron Baynes will be 37 soon.

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Post by NYCelt Sun Oct 01, 2023 5:34 pm

Bills 48 Dolphins 20

Now that we have that nicely out of the way…

I think this is close to it for the Celtic roster reset. I can see them scouring for a bench big, but there are no rotation quality bigs just floating around.

My guess is we know we cannot compete with Milwaukee and Philly on their terms. I don’t think there is any delusion we can come up with a way to go mano y mano with Embiid and Giannis.

I think we’ll use the physicality of non-scoring wings like Walsh and Stevens, although they are undersized, to bother those types.

My bet is we try to get by those teams by playing to our own strength with a very Mazzulla-like outside shooting, strong defending guard-wing mix. Porzingis can do some work in the paint, but not to that level. His ability to stretch the D and pull those bigger, slower centers out may be the way to open lanes a bit. Our rebounding will not be a strength. We will still need to compensate for that.

Holliday lets White go back to being primarily off the ball, where his game is best suited. We saw White can shoot enough and certainly can defend guards and many wings effectively.

I think this is going to be an attempt to take the East with an approach that is considerably different than Philly, Milwaukee, and to some extent Miami.

Brad and Joe have essentially pushed all their chips into the center of the table and bet on Porzingis staying in the lineup though 82+ games. Hang on, this could be quite the wild, and hopefully thrilling ride.
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Post by bobheckler Sun Oct 01, 2023 11:46 pm

Joe has said that Derrick is going to start this year.  That was said/promised before Jrue but I still think it'd be tough for him to retract.  If that's so then our starting 5 will be:

1.  Jrue Holiday (they may ease him in but he will certainly start as soon as he's acclimated).  2X All-Star, 3X All-Defensive 1st Team, 2X All-Defensive 2nd Team.  3X Voted NBA Best Teammate.   Didn't even know that was a thing.

2.  Derrick White.  All-Defensive 2nd Team.  Most blocks by a player 6'6" or less last season.

3.  Jaylen Brown.   2X All-Star.  Sliding over to 3.

4.  Jayson Tatum.  4X All-Star.  2X All-NBA 1st Team, 1X All-NBA 3rd Team.

5.  Kristaps Porzingis.   1X All-Star.

4 out of 5 starting players have been All-Stars.


6.  Al Horford.   5X All-Star.
7.  Payton Pritchard, for firepower at guard.
8.  Oshae Brissett,  behind the Js.
9.  Svi or Sam, for firepower at wing.
10.  Lamar, for defense at guard/wing.

That's a pretty decent top 10 or 11, if Joe plays Svi and Sam.  The starters are all high quality.  If healthy our starting unit has few really weak links.  6-10 is weaker this year over last because of the losses of Brogdon and Grant.  There's no two ways around it, in my opinion, our bench is weaker now,  but starters play 160-170 minutes out of 240 and our starters are great.  Defense in today's NBA begins beyond the arc, and I didn't see how our back court's defense this year could be as good as last year's after Marcus left, but Brad might have pulled it off, and Jrue is better offensively.  

12.  Jordan Walsh.  Defense at wing behind Svi/Sam.
13.  Luke Kornet.  Not great, but now proven.
14.  Dalano Banton.




Bob


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Post by bobheckler Mon Oct 02, 2023 8:08 pm

bobheckler wrote:Joe has said that Derrick is going to start this year.  That was said/promised before Jrue but I still think it'd be tough for him to retract.  If that's so then our starting 5 will be:

1.  Jrue Holiday (they may ease him in but he will certainly start as soon as he's acclimated).  2X All-Star, 3X All-Defensive 1st Team, 2X All-Defensive 2nd Team.  3X Voted NBA Best Teammate.   Didn't even know that was a thing.

2.  Derrick White.  All-Defensive 2nd Team.  Most blocks by a player 6'6" or less last season.

3.  Jaylen Brown.   2X All-Star.  Sliding over to 3.

4.  Jayson Tatum.  4X All-Star.  2X All-NBA 1st Team, 1X All-NBA 3rd Team.

5.  Kristaps Porzingis.   1X All-Star.

4 out of 5 starting players have been All-Stars.


6.  Al Horford.   5X All-Star.
7.  Payton Pritchard, for firepower at guard.
8.  Oshae Brissett,  behind the Js.
9.  Svi or Sam, for firepower at wing.
10.  Lamar, for defense at guard/wing.

That's a pretty decent top 10 or 11, if Joe plays Svi and Sam.  The starters are all high quality.  If healthy our starting unit has few really weak links.  6-10 is weaker this year over last because of the losses of Brogdon and Grant.  There's no two ways around it, in my opinion, our bench is weaker now,  but starters play 160-170 minutes out of 240 and our starters are great.  Defense in today's NBA begins beyond the arc, and I didn't see how our back court's defense this year could be as good as last year's after Marcus left, but Brad might have pulled it off, and Jrue is better offensively.  

12.  Jordan Walsh.  Defense at wing behind Svi/Sam.
13.  Luke Kornet.  Not great, but now proven.
14.  Dalano Banton.




Bob


.


Something I didn't put together when I posted this is that Jrue was NBA All-Defensive 1st Team last year (2022-2023) and Derrick was NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team last year too.

Our starting back court is All-Defense.  That's amazing considering we lost Smart.  Didn't skip a defensive beat.

And offensively they're even more deadly.  Jrue was the #3 option on Milwaukee behind Giannis and Middleton.   He's 4th here.

Bob


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Post by gyso Tue Oct 03, 2023 8:22 am

I read that Brogdon wasn't still mad at the Celtics for trying to trade him, although he was irked at first. What he was mad at the Celtics for more recently was them coming out and saying White was going to be the starter. Brogdon thought it should be settled in a preseason competition between him and White.

Now all the talk about being a team player, wanting to play where it is the best fit for the team was all BS?

Apparently. Reportedly, he wants to start because he wants a larger starter salary in his next contract. That's what it's all about.

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Post by dboss Tue Oct 03, 2023 1:32 pm

In consideration of the starting unit,  decisions may be driven by positional needs off the bench.

D White was promised a starting role according to reports but that was based on no Marcus and a desire to have Brogdon return to his very successful 6th man role off the bench.

The Jrue Holiday addition changes everything!

The best possible backcourt would be for Holiday and Brown to pair up.  If white and Holiday start, PP would have to be your primary backup PG.  From what I have seen, PP is a shooting guard tramped in a PG body.  The Celtics will need an experience PG off the bench to accentuate a collection of players that have limited connection with one another. and our established core guys.  That role may not be the best fit for PP.  He simply is not a playmaker and despite his ability to stay with his man, his switchable skills are clearly suspect.  I think his role would be to push the pace and be a guy who can knock down shots from the perimeter.  The Celtics mostly need someone to run the second unit offense.

I also think that it is time for AH to matriculate into a new role.  I do not think that him and KP will be a good paring.   Neither one of them are particularly good in playing defense away from the basket.  It comes down to a matter of lateral quickness.  Both can be effective at the rim on defense.  The other issue, as it relates to the defense, is how the two of them will not be effective in transition defense.  Teams will run us off the court.

That tells me that both White and Horford may be more suited given the roster construction, to be our 6th and 7th guys.  Of course there will be times when we will see the 2-big lineup and the 2 PG lineup but I honestly do not think that starting either one of them will provide the level of balance that the team will need.

Considering that Brad's focus over the summer has keyed in on expanding the depth at the wing position,  as we now have a collection of 6' 7" and 6' 8" guys, this team screams small ball.  I think one of the wing additions could move into a starer role.  I think that guy will be Oshae Brissett.   Lamar Stevens would also be an option.

I know that it will take a while to see how everything fits together and there will be experimentation along the way but the sooner CJ establishes his 1st and 2nd units, the sooner the Boston Celtics will sit atop the entire NBA.
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Post by sinus007 Tue Oct 03, 2023 2:45 pm

Hi,
"The Boston Celtics signed center Kylor Kelley to an Exhibit 10 contract, a league source told
@spotrac"
It's in addition to Gabriel.
I guess Brad is looking for a back-up big in a bargain bin. And Luke will have to fight for the roster spot.

AK
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Post by NYCelt Tue Oct 03, 2023 3:10 pm

dboss,

I buy your reasoning on White and Horford as 6th and 7th in the lineup, but I think only if another forward/wing upgrade comes in.

After player 7, depth is a huge concern. That's the way it's becoming across the league, not just in Boston.

Looking at what we have, I would almost expect an opportunity for Stevens or perhaps a surprise to emerge, come in, and push for significant minutes by later this season. That is if Stevens can maintain the defensive grit he showed in Cleveland or someone out of the misfit toys we picked up has a breakout run. I hope one of those scenarios plays out.

Brissett is a mystery to me, as anything more than perhaps player number 12. I think if anyone gets a shot at bumping into the starting 5 ahead of White and Horford, it might have to be Hauser. But that doesn't help the defense.

I've been thinking, as you seem to imply unless I misread you, that Horford and White rotate into the starting group situationally. Again, that is unless further moves are made, which I don't believe are coming.
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Post by dboss Tue Oct 03, 2023 3:30 pm

NYCelt wrote:dboss,

I buy your reasoning on White and Horford as 6th and 7th in the lineup, but I think only if another forward/wing upgrade comes in.

After player 7, depth is a huge concern. That's the way it's becoming across the league, not just in Boston.

Looking at what we have, I would almost expect an opportunity for Stevens or perhaps a surprise to emerge, come in, and push for significant minutes by later this season. That is if Stevens can maintain the defensive grit he showed in Cleveland or someone out of the misfit toys we picked up has a breakout run. I hope one of those scenarios plays out.

Brissett is a mystery to me, as anything more than perhaps player number 12. I think if anyone gets a shot at bumping into the starting 5 ahead of White and Horford, it might have to be Hauser. But that doesn't help the defense.

I've been thinking, as you seem to imply unless I misread you, that Horford and White rotate into the starting group situationally. Again, that is unless further moves are made, which I don't believe are coming.

NYCelt

Yes White and Ho0rford would rotate into the lineup but I do not think it would be situational as both are key core guys.

The way I see it, we have a big 4 to start so the 5th guy should be complimentary. A role player in the starting unit could work. They do not need a bigtime shooter /scorer but maybe a guy that will play solid defense and run the court in transition. The big 4 has excessive fire power. lol.
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Post by bobheckler Tue Oct 03, 2023 5:43 pm

Boston Celtics Reportedly Sign New Center


According to Keith Smith of Spotrac, the Boston Celtics have signed Kylor Kelley.


BEN STINAR3 HOURS AGO



Kylor Kelley is coming off a year where he played in the G League for Raptors 905.


The 26-year-old averaged 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest while shooting 62.5% from the field in 21 regular season games.

On Tuesday, Keith Smith of Spotrac reported that Kelley has signed with the Boston Celtics.

Via Smith: "The Boston Celtics signed center Kylor Kelley to an Exhibit 10 contract, a league source told @spotrac."


Since the deal is an Exhibit 10, Kelley will potentially go to the Maine Celtics (G League affiliate of Boston) if he doesn't make the roster.

Kelley played his college basketball for Oregon State (two seasons), and during his final season, he averaged 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per contest while shooting 60.4% from the field in 31 games.

He went undrafted in 2020 and has yet to make his debut in the NBA.


The Celtics recently traded center Robert Williams III in the deal that landed them NBA Champion point guard Jrue Holiday.

Therefore, taking a look at Kelley (who is 7'0") makes sense.


As for the Celtics, they are among the best teams in the NBA and coming off a season where they were 57-25 and finished as the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

After beating the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs, they lost to Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Conference Finals.

The Celtics have made the Conference Finals five times in the previous seven seasons.



Bob
MY NOTE: Undrafted in 2020, and has yet to play in an NBA game. Hope you like Maine, you're never leaving. 7'0", 215#. 5-6" taller than Jaylen and 10# less


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Post by RosalieTCeltics Tue Oct 03, 2023 6:49 pm

It appears that they are stockpiling these guys for Maine, as I read yesterday. Got to be a handful, picking for the Celtics and Picking for Maine, with the hopes that they hit a jackpot and someone comes in out of the blue and becomes a surprise
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Post by bobheckler Tue Oct 03, 2023 7:22 pm

I was thinking about the net changes this summer for the Celtics.  If they were a trade, or even two trades, we would look at them like they were an algebraic equation to see if the inbound value was > = the outbound.  Well, Brad made a bunch of decisions.  He made trades, he decided to let players walk, but in the end what hath Brad wrought?

Marcus Smart + Grant Williams + Malcolm Brogdon + RWill vs. Kristaps Porzingis + Jrue Holiday.  Everybody else (e.g. Svi, Lamar, Oshae, Dalano) are players that were free agents we could have signed anyway.

When I put it like this, not even taking into account draft picks given up to Portland to get Jrue, how does this look now?


Bob


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Post by NYCelt Tue Oct 03, 2023 9:08 pm

bobheckler wrote:I was thinking about the net changes this summer for the Celtics.  If they were a trade, or even two trades, we would look at them like they were an algebraic equation to see if the inbound value was > = the outbound.  Well, Brad made a bunch of decisions.  He made trades, he decided to let players walk, but in the end what hath Brad wrought?

Marcus Smart + Grant Williams + Malcolm Brogdon + RWill vs. Kristaps Porzingis + Jrue Holiday.  Everybody else (e.g. Svi, Lamar, Oshae, Dalano) are players that were free agents we could have signed anyway.

When I put it like this, not even taking into account draft picks given up to Portland to get Jrue, how does this look now?


Bob

.

Interesting question.

At the core of the moves, Jrue Holiday replaces Marcus Smart and Kristaps Porzingis replaces Rob Williams. I think, at least in the short run, you could make a good case this appears to be a solid net gain. As a result, you could also argue the first six are among the league’s strongest first six.

From there I think you have three sources of hope in Pritchard, Stevens and Walsh. Pritchard, despite his shortcomings, can score and can run the point for a brief break here and there. Stevens brings some of the defensive intensity, guarding multiple positions, the team will need against physically bigger Eastern opponents. Walsh also promises to contribute defensively, if he is the hard worker he appears to be, and can overcome some of the bad habits and inconsistency that cost him in his brief collegiate career.

After that, I don’t think we have anything we can count on. In the NBA today, I don’t think that puts us much behind anyone else.

Shooting, hopefully a steady strength, will, I think, have to be among components that help compensate for a continuing lack of rebounding.

So, I would go as far as to say Brad has created a 1 through 8 that should be able to compete with the first 8 on most any team around the league. It is, however, a short-run great 8 in my view. Age and physical condition could knock as many as three of the 8 out of the equation in a season or two. If Walsh develops, maybe we keep a strong 6 or 7 for up to two years.

I believe the future is now. Brad has created much more than just a punchers chance at a quick title in ‘24, but I don’t think beyond ‘25 tops. And I’m not too confident about ‘25. We need to grab that next banner now. Avoid the Celtic tradition of injury, and Brad’s bold moves could very well get the team on the June ‘24 schedule.
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Post by jrleftfoot Tue Oct 03, 2023 10:17 pm

sinus007 wrote:Hi,
"The Boston Celtics signed center Kylor Kelley to an Exhibit 10 contract, a league source told
@spotrac"
It's in addition to Gabriel.
I guess Brad is looking for a back-up big in a bargain bin. And Luke will have to fight for the roster spot.

AK
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Post by bobheckler Thu Oct 05, 2023 10:18 am

I'm somewhat concerned about the quality of our bench, but I'm hoping that's just because of the unknowns.  

Payton is saying he's taken a big step up, and players watching him in practice so far have said he's the most impressive player out there, but this is just practice.  With the loss of Smart and Brogdon means we still have a need for ball handling and passing.  Has he taken that step up?  You wanted this, you got this.  You are now the first guard off the bench.  Do you have what it takes to be a Boston Celtic 6th Man?

Sam?  Well, we know he'll shoot well overall, but any other upgrades?  I doubt he'll ever be an above average defender but if he shoots lights out and is even an average defender that will make him no worse than Duncan Robinson, if not better, and I can live with that.  He has a year under his belt.  He has now, also, been scouted.  There's lots of film on him now.

I don't know Oshae or Dalano or Lamar or Svi.  There are my unknowns.  The reason why they are even worth talking about is because of the injury history of some of our key players.  Ironically, some of those problems were resolved when we traded Marcus, Malcolm and RWill.  When we talked about injury history, and missing games, those three were the names most often brought up.  Now that they're gone we're talking about Krispy Porcini and Al's age and that all we have behind them now is Luke Groundwalker.  We need another presence at the rim, now that The Time Lord is in a different time zone.  Gabriel isn't a shot blocker and Queta can't be quite ready for prime time if he snapped at a two-way contract.

Other than me just being a Nervous Nelly our first 6 are quite impressive.

An All-Defense back court (Jrue 1st, Derrick 2nd).  Almost +8ppg over last year's starting back court, a +7 improvement in NetRtg over last year.  Marcus and Jrue had the same Defensive Rating (112) but Jrue's Offensive Rating was +7 over Marcus'.  As hard as it is for me to fathom, given how much I love Marcus Smart, our back court got a lot better on offense and lost nothing on defense.

The Js will not be worse than last year, not unless Joe asks them to do too much more.  They'll get more whistles, in my opinion, if nothing else.  Their reputations are preceding them at this point.

KP and Al are better than RWill and Al.  Anything said that is alarming regarding The Unicorn's availability can be repeated virtually verbatim for The Time (Missed) Lord.  This is where the loss of Grant might come back to bite us.  His versatility, and the solid minutes he delivered, will be missed.

Unfortunately you're not going to go far with only 6.  Even in the playoffs you need at least 8 and, for those 8 to be fresh you need 9-12 to be able to play well enough for 1-8 to sit.  We're all going to focus on Jrue and Z, understandably so, but if the players 7-15 are useless then Brad will need to make some changes because 6 isn't enough.


Bob


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Post by gyso Thu Oct 05, 2023 1:04 pm

I believe we will see Oshae playing the Grant role. Minutes eater, good on defense and good enough on offense.

Will there be enough new offense to offset the drop from Grant's production? I think so and I cannot wait to see it in action.

Walsh could eventually play the Grant role, but I don't expect much out of him this season.

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Post by dboss Fri Oct 06, 2023 2:09 pm

bobheckler wrote:
RosalieTCeltics wrote:just tell me, how many slots are open here?  One, two????  They sent out 2 got one back. And there was still a slot open before the trade, am I right?   Blake still pondering retirement but Brad has said the door is always open for him to return if he decides to. But? is he the answer, or are we already searching for another Big


Rosalie,

One slot open.  I'm reading people posting the Gabriel signing is a camp contract.

There are several non-guaranteed contracts that are expected to stick (e.g. Banton).  Assuming they do, and Gabriel is just a camp contract, we are at 14.


Bob


.

Weyen signed a 1 year contract for $2,346,614 The contract becomes fully guaranteed on 1/10/2024

https://www.spotrac.com/nba/boston-celtics/wenyen-gabriel-27806/

I fully expect him to be on the roster on opening night. He cannot be traded until 1/2/20024. i have had my eye on him for a couple of years. he has 145 NBA games under his belt. The Celtics want to be able to play fast this year and that means that you have to have players that can get up and down the court. Weyen is very limited offensively but i think he just may be able to bring energy on the court.

Championship ballclubs are constructed around a variety of players.

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Post by RosalieTCeltics Fri Oct 06, 2023 2:15 pm

Looks like Blake is definitely going to retire? Never thought I would say this, but too bad, I really got to like him. I was never a fan of his before, but he really won me over last year. Sad to see him go, his body must be telling him to stop
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Post by bobheckler Thu Oct 12, 2023 2:15 pm

So far the regular players looks like:

Z
J1
J2
J3
A
D
P
S
K

After those 9 it becomes less clear.  Joe's options include V, L and O.  That gets us to 12, which is as deep as any fan should reasonably expect.  

Who should the starting 5 be and how does that ripple through the roster?

Double-Big = Z, A, J1, J2 and then who?  J3 or D?
Bench = S, K and whichever guard doesn't start because Al is.
Deeper Bench = P, V, L, O
Way Deep Bench = B, W

We were very effective last year starting a double-big lineup.  We could also afford to do that because we had RWill and Grant for depth.  We don't have that luxury this year.  Our starting 5 is awesome but 6-8 is vulnerable, especially at the big spot and, maybe, at back up wing (depending upon your confidence level in Sam).


Single-Big = Z, J1, J2, J3, D
Bench = A, P, S
Deeper Bench = K, V, L, O
Way Deep Bench = B, W

Also a powerhouse starting unit, just a bit shorter.  The movement of Tatum to PF to replace Al isn't necessarily a big downgrade since Tatum is a very good rebounder.  Moving Al to the bench saves his body and also provides serious veteran leadership to the 2nd unit.  It also moves Luke to where he probably should be, 3rd big, 2nd off the bench and not 1st.  He moves up on the depth chart based upon injuries and replacing A in b2b.

I'm interested to see who wins out the battles between S and V.  I have S in the lead but that could change as V settles in more and Joe gains confidence in him.  Also, when S has a cold-shooting spell (all shooters have slumps, so it's not "if") does Joe throw V in?  And if he goes in will S have a chance to get his spot back if V scores like he can?

Another battle of interest to me is L vs O.  Lamar is one tough hombre, but Oshae is built more for the wars underneath.  Will Joe go with the banger, or the natural?  I have seen enough of Lamar to be convinced he is making the team and will be given the minutes I thought Walsh would get before Brad signed L.  I now believe W will be spending a lot of time in Maine getting reps.


Bob


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Post by RosalieTCeltics Thu Oct 12, 2023 2:43 pm

I really hope everyone on here knows the alphabet!!! A new way of referencing players. How long do you think this will last?? Ha Ha. I am the first one to do it, too many long names, unfamiliar faces.
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Post by Pumpsie Green Fri Oct 13, 2023 11:28 am

bobheckler wrote:Joe has said that Derrick is going to start this year.  That was said/promised before Jrue but I still think it'd be tough for him to retract.  If that's so then our starting 5 will be:

1.  Jrue Holiday (they may ease him in but he will certainly start as soon as he's acclimated).  2X All-Star, 3X All-Defensive 1st Team, 2X All-Defensive 2nd Team.  3X Voted NBA Best Teammate.   Didn't even know that was a thing.

2.  Derrick White.  All-Defensive 2nd Team.  Most blocks by a player 6'6" or less last season.

3.  Jaylen Brown.   2X All-Star.  Sliding over to 3.

4.  Jayson Tatum.  4X All-Star.  2X All-NBA 1st Team, 1X All-NBA 3rd Team.

5.  Kristaps Porzingis.   1X All-Star.

4 out of 5 starting players have been All-Stars.


6.  Al Horford.   5X All-Star.
7.  Payton Pritchard, for firepower at guard.
8.  Oshae Brissett,  behind the Js.
9.  Svi or Sam, for firepower at wing.
10.  Lamar, for defense at guard/wing.

That's a pretty decent top 10 or 11, if Joe plays Svi and Sam.  The starters are all high quality.  If healthy our starting unit has few really weak links.  6-10 is weaker this year over last because of the losses of Brogdon and Grant.  There's no two ways around it, in my opinion, our bench is weaker now,  but starters play 160-170 minutes out of 240 and our starters are great.  Defense in today's NBA begins beyond the arc, and I didn't see how our back court's defense this year could be as good as last year's after Marcus left, but Brad might have pulled it off, and Jrue is better offensively.  

12.  Jordan Walsh.  Defense at wing behind Svi/Sam.
13.  Luke Kornet.  Not great, but now proven.
14.  Dalano Banton.




Bob


.

Kornet isn't "great". Few #3 players on the depth chart are. He is basically our third big and from what I can see in preseason he is definitely adequate in that role. As he said once, at the end of the day he IS 7-2.
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Post by bobheckler Wed Oct 18, 2023 4:46 pm

https://www.bostonsportsjournal.com/2023/10/18/whether-its-as-a-starter-or-off-the-bench-al-horford-still-an-example-for-his-celtics-teammates



Whether it's as a starter or off the bench, Al Horford still an example for his Celtics teammates


BY JOHN KARALIS
Oct 18, 2023 • 1:20 AM



Joe Mazzulla was unusually forthright with his starting lineup before the game, announcing that Al Horford would be coming off the bench.

It’s an interesting decision from Mazzulla, who could certainly simply be looking at how certain lineups work versus other options. Considering that he started Horford in their first preseason game and brought Jrue Holiday off the bench, it’s still not clear how this will ultimately go.

But no matter what, someone with a strong argument to start will begin games on the bench.

“At some point this year everybody’s gonna have to,” said Jayson Tatum, maybe the lone exception to that rule. “We’ve probably got six starters. And you can only play five, only five guys can finish the game. So between those six guys, any given night somebody might come off the bench, somebody might not finish, and it’s on all of us to understand that whoever’s night it is, it's for the better of the team.”


On this night, it was Horford’s turn. It’s an unusual place for Horford to be considering he’s started 1003 of 1013 regular season games in his career. Aside from the debacle in Philadelphia that saw him come off the bench six times, his only other second-unit stints came in his rookie year.

For what it’s worth, Horford found a seam in the media coverage and slipped out of the locker room with his son before talking about coming off the bench. But he did address it on media day.

“For me, we have such a special group here. We’re all ready to put in the work to get started, and to put ourselves in the best position,” he said. “So that’s something Joe will have to address and determine, but for me, I’m excited to be in this position and have this opportunity with our team.”

Sounds like a guy open to anything. And why not? First off all, he was flying out there. He was the catalyst right away, playing six minutes in the first quarter and still finishing a plus-11. He was a team-best plus-17. He was hustling like the game meant something.


“We had three clips at halftime and all three were him and the possessions that he had and the energy that he brought,” Mazzulla said after the win. “So regardless of who's starting, who's not, Al’s a critical piece of our team and our locker room, and he seems to be the guy that always makes the right play on both ends of the floor, and we can't take that for granted.”

No, you can’t. In fact, Horford’s willingness to take this role without complaint could be something that helps keep this team motivated. Horford could certainly pull the vet card if he wanted. He could make things difficult like so many aging stars who have scoffed at the mere suggestion of second-unit roles. But that's not who Horford is. Frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much of that kind of attitude anywhere on the team.

“We're all willing to take whatever the situation is gonna be, whoever is gonna start whoever, whatever,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “Honestly, I don't think these guys care, but all we care about is winning and playing the right way and we're gonna trust Joe with those kinds of things and the rotations. There's gonna be some nights somebody's gonna rest and the starting five is gonna look different. So we're prepared for it all.”

We love to talk about vibes, and they’ve been good around here for a while. There isn’t a jerk in sight on this team. But this year’s team is a little different. The intensity is higher. As Tatum said after the game, “practices have been hard as shoot.” I don’t want to go overboard in preseason, but we’ve all been in situations where things have felt different.

And this feels different.


The team is young but not really that young anymore. The stars are proven. The contracts are in hand (or will be soon). No one is fighting for anything besides big numbers in the W column. Call it maturity or reality finally setting in, but it’s definitely different. And if Horford has to be the guy who keeps his warmups on after the anthem, so be it.

“I have the utmost respect for Al,” Tatum said. “If Al can come off the bench at this stage of his career, nobody should have anything to say if you’re the guy that’s coming off the bench or Joe takes you out of the game or if you don’t finish. And everybody has to have a team-first mindset to accomplish what we’re trying to do.”


Bob


.
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Post by jrleftfoot Wed Oct 18, 2023 5:42 pm

Though not earthshaking, I think the competition between Svi and Sam is going to be quite interesting. One of them is going to have to make a contribution as the 8th or 9th man.Sam has the advantage of incumbency, but Svi is more experienced overall. I think Svi is a little more skilled, but it will most likely be determined by shooting efficiency. Good luck to both of them. I'm not sure what to make of Brisett.I could see the kid from Cleveland and , eventually, Walsh, taking minutes from him, unless he becomes more consistent offensively. Banton is intrigueing. If he could only shoot!
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Post by RosalieTCeltics Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:19 pm

I really think that Sam has learned a lot from the veterans in the last year or so as far as defense is concerned. I have not seen much defense from SVi but he has not had much of a chance to show what he can do. Sam has learned a lot from Derrick, and is an excellent rebounder. I guess you can see that I am rooting for him to succeed. It would be great to have two guys on the bench who can shoot the heck out of the ball, as Cowens and I like to call them, “our gunslingers”. Time will tell.

I will say that Banton has not showed me much since he had that one good game. Last night he looked lost out there. Brissette is a hard worker, I would like to see a little more of him, But how can you when you have that first 6?????
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