Plenty of questions surrounding the two guard remain for the Boston Celtics headed into the new season.
Will sophomore Jaylen Brown improve his shooting, or can the proven star and new addition Gordon Hayward take on new responsibilities as a guard? Regardless, it shouldn’t matter that much with who plays where under Brad Stevens’ positionless basketball, as long as everyone contributes and plays well together.
Starter: Jaylen Brown / Projection: 13.1 PPG, 2.3 APG, 4.9 RPG, 32 PER
Ready or not, Jaylen Brown will be tasked with a much larger role than last season and time will tell if the sophomore can handle the heat and respond to added minutes. With Ainge trading Avery Bradley and renouncing James Young, (who, to be honest, was never really a part of the team in the first place) Brown is expected to be the second starter in the backcourt playing alongside Kyrie Irving.
The University of California product displayed multiple impressive performances during the summer league, including a jaw-dropping 29-point masterpiece against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Overall, Brown could make or break the 2017-18 quest for a championship based on if he is able to amp up his game and become a key piece to the team, or if the 20-year-old cracks under pressure.
Backup: Marcus Smart / Projection: 11.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 2.6 RPG, 13.4 PER
Something important to note is that neither Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown are true shooting guards. Brown has classically played small forward, while Smart has been used to backup the point guard role. In fact, the only actual shooting guard for Boston is Jabari Bird, who may not even top-five minutes per game.
Point being, both Brown and Smart have a big task to pick up the slack and be effective at a role other than their primary position. Hopefully for Boston, Smart has taken this offseason as an opportunity to improve his lack-luster shooting and will be able to score as consistently as his defensive abilities.
Third off the bench: Jabari Bird / Projection: 3.4 PPG, 1.5 APG, 0.9 RPG, 7.3 PER
Browns’ former teammate, Jabari Bird, joined the Celtics as the 56th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Bird isn’t expected to make a huge impact, (or any at all), right off the bat, however he could become a solid 3-and-D player and continue to develop higher than that after further practice and experience.
On July 13, Bird posted an impressive 17 points and shot 50 percent from three during summer league action against the Golden State Warriors. If Bird can show any streaks of the last one to wear green, Boston fans will have nothing to be disappointed about.