The Boston Celtics have some serious internal decisions to make between now and October 20th’s tip-off against the New York Knicks.
Though the majority of the team’s starting rotation is already essentially decided on, with Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum all but guaranteed a nod, said lineup consists of five players, thus leaving two positions left to be determined.
Center is technically an up in the air slot within the rotation, with guys like Robert Williams, Enes Kanter, and Al Horford all slated to battle it out for the top spot on the depth chart but, at least to start the year, many anticipate the latter talent will ultimately come out victorious.
Perhaps the biggest question mark within the lineup is at the four, which, frankly, has been so for the past several years now.
Due to their lack of authentic power forwards on the roster, over the last two seasons the Boston Celtics have experimented with the position and, last season, we saw them predominantly use guys like Tristan Thompson (a natural center) and Jayson Tatum (a natural small forward) at this area in the rotation.
With Thompson now in Sacramento and the C’s desire to get their All-Star back to his preferred position, the four spot is the unquestioned lackluster location within the starting rotation.
Recently, we’ve seen suggestions of how Ime Udoka could go about addressing the four this year, with sliding Horford up from the pivot to power forward and simply leaving Tatum down there both being popular methods amongst media and fans alike.
However, there is one alternative route that, though perhaps has seriously lacked in public consideration, could be an intriguing method of filling in the team’s starting four.
The specific method: try out the newly acquired Juan Hernangómez in the starting frontcourt.
Since being acquired by the Boston Celtics back in late August, many have gone about and discussed the positive impacts that the 25-year-old could have on the team’s bench unit.
However, what about the positives he could bring as a starter?
Over his five-year career in the association, Hernangómez has logged the majority of his minutes at the power forward position where he has proven to be a quality asset for his respective ball clubs.
Since becoming a consistent rotational piece in the league back in 2018, per 75 possessions the Spanish-born baller has seen solid averages of 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds on 35 percent shooting from downtown.
Now, yes, Hernangómez has predominantly served as a reserve big for the majority of his career but, when given the opportunity to log minutes in the starting rotation, he has actually faired rather well.
Upon being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2019-20 the four started all 14 games in which he was available for where, in turn, he posted impressive averages of 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds on 45 percent shooting from the floor and 42 percent shooting from deep.
Last season, when given the starting nod for his team, he continued this positive trend as he dropped 10 points and seven boards on nearly 46 percent shooting from the floor and 37 percent shooting from deep in said outings.
By putting him in the starting rotation, not only would the Boston Celtics be able to push Tatum back to the three, but they’d also be inserting a solid floor-spacing talent (35 percent career 3-point shooter) whose natural position is actually power forward.
For the first time since 2018-19 when they had Marcus Morris, the shamrocks find themselves in possession of a legitimate NBA four in Juan Hernangómez.
In the Houdini’s humble opinion, he should strongly be considered for Boston’s starting power forward position heading into 2021-22.