The Boston Celtics are perhaps the most talented team in the NBA outside of the Golden State Warriors.
People have been so focused, and rightfully so, on the Warriors lineup of five All-Stars, but the beasts of the East have their own lineup that would fit into a video game. The Celtics have a star-studded lineup of Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward. Their bench is deep at every position with Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart at the guards, Marcus Morris a solid bench scorer, and Daniel Theis and Aron Baynes on the block. Along with Semi Ojeleye, this team figures to be not only one of the most talented but one of, if not the deepest in the NBA.
With that said, not everyone will come out of the upcoming season happy. Which Celtics will have to sacrifice the most this year?
One of the easiest to pick out for this distinction is Rozier, who emerged during the playoffs in his starting role while Irving and Smart were sidelined. He was phenomenal at home in the postseason, but not as strong on the road. He averaged 36.6 minutes per game in May and June, but he can probably expect to see that time cut in half if he’s lucky.
Rozier will be relegated back to the role of a backup point guard with Irving’s return, and if someone gets hurt coach Brad Stevens has shown that he likes to go to Smart down the stretch in games. With Rozier on the final year of his contract, he will have to just deal with making a big impact in a limited amount of time.
Morris is another candidate primed for regression this upcoming year. He was an important piece of last year’s team, but early in the offseason, there were rumors that he might be cut altogether. Now, it doesn’t make any sense to do that because of his team-friendly contract, but Morris can expect his role to decrease this season.
His iso-ball style doesn’t fit the pass happy offense of the Celtics. He can score in bunches, which is a perfect sixth man role for him. However, with Rozier and Smart probably ahead of him on the depth chart, it is likely that Morris will see a decrease in production.
Last but not least, we come to Jayson Tatum. The Duke product was an absolute horse for the Celtics last year, and his dunk in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals over LeBron James was the highlight of the playoffs for many Celtics fans. But with the return of two All-Stars, the pickings might be slim for Tatum.
He hit the rookie wall last year but still managed to finish averaging 13.4 points per game. Tatum might see that number slide closer to ten this year, but don’t expect the highlight reel plays to stop coming from this electrifying second-year player.