Some Boston Celtics are proving expendable with their play in the playoffs, but others are rising to the occasion and potentially saving their jobs.
The Boston Celtics have a critical Game 5 tonight against the Toronto Raptors inside the Lake Buena Vista bubble in Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports campus. This series is one that can determine a lot of the next steps for Danny Ainge and the front office moving forward.
One could be who goes if the team loses in the second round. After a second consecutive early flameout–over a year after signing Kemba Walker to a max contract and about a year since Jaylen Brown signed a $115 million extension himself–there could be drastic roster changes at the bottom of the rotation at the very least.
You could justify things by saying Gordon Hayward isn’t in the lineup, but even still, they should be able to go deeper in the playoffs than the Eastern Conference semis with the amount of talent remaining at the top of their rotation.
Some players previously seen as likely goners are starting to shift that narrative by playing a role in the lineup right now. The following players can earn their spot on next year’s teams with continued improved play:
Brad Wanamaker, PG
We have previously lamented the fact that the Cs were undermanned at the backup point guard spot. Two undersized rookies and a journeyman point guard averaging under 10 points per game on middling shooting numbers are easy to find…especially the journeyman part.
Brad Wanamaker is changing our minds with his minutes in the playoffs. While he hasn’t had a breakout game, he has been a net positive in the playoffs overall–though he is a minimal negative in his 61 minutes against the Raptors.
Wanamaker comes cheap and has gotten plenty of reps in this system. If the Celtics can’t find anything better in the draft, he is a safe option to bring back for at least a season.
Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF
“Situational” Semi Ojeleye, as the Houdini just called him (and, to spare you, all probably won’t again) has been called upon at times in this series and throughout his career to help guard certain difficult matchups on the defensive end.
In 2018, he averaged 30 minutes in the final three games of Boston’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks to handle Giannis Antetokounmpo…two out of three of those games of which were wins. He logged 22 minutes in a game one win in the current series as well.
Ojeleye’s restricted free agency will make it tricky if a team tosses out a lucrative offer sheet. Anything above $7-8 million annually is likely too steep to justify, but having him as a cost-controlled asset to potentially use as a salary match would be an easier pill to swallow.
What do you think Boston Celtics fans? Are these two Cs vets worth keeping?
Let us known in the comments section!