5 Celtics who are playing for their future in Boston

These Celtics are playing for their place with the franchise down the stretch.

Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday
Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The Boston Celtics have the best record and are among the title favorites, but their season will be defined by the playoffs. It is championship or bust in Beantown. They have made the conference finals five times in the last seven years. Nothing short of a title will make this a successful campaign.

The Celtics won 43 of their 55 games before the All-Star break and have lost just three times at home. They are on pace to get homecourt and have a massive advantage in the postseason. The franchise has the best top six in the NBA, but it is all about playing well at the right time.

These Celtics have plenty to prove down the stretch and into the playoffs. They could be looking for a new home this offseason if there are struggles. Who is playing for their future in Boston?

5. Xavier Tillman

The Celtics traded two second-round draft picks and Lamar Stevens to get Tillman from the Grizzlies just before the deadline. The 6’8 big man is averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 block in 20.6 minutes per game this season. His shooting percentages leave plenty to be desired, but the 25-year-old still has room to grow.

Tillman has not played for the Celtics because of a knee injury. His last appearance was on Jan. 29, but he appears set to return in their first game after the All-Star break.

Xavier Tillman is in the final year of his contract and will be searching for a significant payday this summer. The 6’8 big man will be an unrestricted free agent, and Boston has $201 million committed in salaries already. The Celtics will have to pay luxury tax penalties on top of Tillman’s salary, which makes the dollars add up quickly.

Xavier Tillman will be battling for the Boston Celtics' third big-man role behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford with Luke Kornet. The 25-year-old needs to lock down that spot and prove he is a crucial part of their rotation moving forward.