This Past offseason saw the Boston Celtics become more aggressive than in years past.
Brad Stevens, the new President of Basketball Operations, quickly went to work in reshaping this roster. With all the new additions, it has Celtics fans questioning how new head coach, Ime Udoka, will go about filling out his starting lineup?
Here is what I believe the starting five will look like come opening night at Madison Square Garden:
Point guard: Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart comes into the 2021-2022 season with much to prove.
After a down season last year, many Boston Celtics fans were calling for this man to be traded. Even with all the fan rumblings, it was clear that Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka wanted Smart on this team.
When asked about Smart, the rookie head coach had this to say:
"Marcus is a very vocal leader. He has that edge and toughness about him, so the things he brings to your team are the things you love every player to bring. You hate playing against him but you want him on your side."
Since coming into the league in 2014, Smart has never had the chance to be the floor general for the Celtics.
First, it was Rajon Rondo, then Isaiah Thomas, followed by Kyrie Irving, and finally Kemba Walker.
The seventh-year veteran is the best version of himself when he is initiating the offense in the pick and roll and getting others involved. Of course, he will also have to get back to being that defensive menace we have all come to know and love.
Without an All-Star point guard in front of him this season, Marcus Smart is primed to take over this starting role.
Shooting guard: Jaylen Brown
Your newest Boston Celtics All-Star gets the nod at the two-guard spot this season.
After a rough ending and an injury that caused him to miss last postseason, JB is primed to make a big return.
Jaylen has developed and gotten better each year since coming into the league. With recent videos of him knocking down threes from Stephen Curry range, it looks like he is ready to add another aspect to his game and take it to another level.
Brown will once again have to be an All-Star and reach his full potential for this Boston Celtics team to make some noise.
If past seasons are any indication of what we will get out of Brown, well let’s just say he will be ready.
Small forward: Jayson Tatum
Just like JB, JT is a no-brainer for a spot in the starting lineup.
Jayson Tatum has quickly developed into one of the best scorers in the NBA. His offensive brilliance was on full display last season when he led the league in fifty-point games.
After averaging 26 points per game last season and helping the USA team win gold at this summer’s Olympics, Tatum is ready to move up into the upper echelon of basketball royalty.
In order for this Boston Celtics team to show they can legitimately compete, the budding superstar will have to have an MVP season for the ages.
Power forward: Al Horford
Let us welcome back an old friend of the Boston Celtics, Al Horford.
In what I think was the biggest move of the offseason, Stevens shed Kemba Walker’s contract and brought back the reliable Horford.
With his versatility and his ability to stretch the floor, Big Al fits perfectly at the four spot.
We also have to consider his chemistry with Tatum, Brown, and Smart.
Putting him on the floor with these three guys is a recipe for success. Per Adrian Wojnarowksi, ESPN insider and host of the Woj Pod, Horford never wanted to leave the Celtics:
"He never really wanted to leave, but financially it made sense for him to go do that deal with the Sixers.”"
Al Horford has always preferred to play the four spot on the floor and slotting him into a starting role will have the shamrocks off and running to start the season.
Center: Robert Williams
Last season the Boston Celtics were 10-3 when Robert Williams was inserted into the starting lineup.
I think it is safe to say that when he’s on the floor this team is just better. With his contract extension resolved, Time Lord will be able to focus strictly on basketball.
His biggest concern this season is going to be his health, for Williams has yet to show that he can make it through a full season.
If this has to come with some sort of load management then so be it. The Celtics need big man at full strength to compete with the top teams in the league.
With that said, opening night is just over a month away and many questions will be answered soon.
One thing is for sure, this lineup will change multiple times throughout the season. But for this team to be successful early on and for them to get off to a fast start in games, this is the lineup new Celtics coach Ime Udoka should run with.