The Boston Celtics have an overabundance of perimeter players and could deal one of them before the start of the season.
Boston currently has 18 players under contract after waiving John Holland on August 31. The problem the Celtics are facing is that 16 of those players possess guaranteed deals. This is not totally a terrible situation for the Celtics as the club is under the salary cap per Basketball Insiders. Meaning, they do have some flexibility in their decision-making.
If the Cs are unable to work out a trade prior to the deadline to get down to the league’s mandated 15-player limit, they will have to pay someone a full season salary that will no longer be with the team.
Boston is set at point guard with Isaiah Thomas as the starter and Marcus Smart entrenched as the backup. Terry Rozier is the team’s third point guard after a strong postseason and summer league showing.
Rozier was selected with the No. 16 pick in the 2015 draft out of Louisville. The 22-year-old split time between the Celtics and theD-League’s Maine Red Claws. He appeared in 39 games with the Celtics during the regular season, seeing about eight minutes a game. But the six-foot-two point saw his court time increase in Boston’s first round playoff series against Atlanta when Avery Bradley went down with an injury in the fourth quarter of Game One of the series.
— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) September 9, 2016
Rozier’s best performance during the five-game series with the Hawks occurred in Game 2, where he tallied 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. He finished the game shooting 4-of-7 from the floor as well as 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Rozier produced 4.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 39.1 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc in the series.
Josue Pavon of WEEI reported that Rozier continued his development during summer league, averaging a team-high 20 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
Rozier has a scorer’s mentality though he is a good facilitator as well. He is also a good finisher at the rim and is an above average defender.
Avery Bradley had a career season last year and is known as a shutdown defender. He will start at shooting guard once again with free agent acquisition Gerald Green backing him up. Smart will also see time at the 2 while Green can also play the 3.
— Lachlan Marr (@lachlanmarr) September 8, 2016
Jae Crowder had a breakout season in 2015-16, demonstrating that he is a starter in the league. Rookie Jaylen Brown had a fabulous summer league campaign and will see plenty of playing time.
Amir Johnson and Al Horford will man the starting two spots in the frontcourt. Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko will likely be the first two bigs off the bench. Tyler Zeller is the fifth big on the roster, which means he will likely see sparse playing time.
— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) August 29, 2016
Rookie Demetrius Jackson and second-year pro Jordan Mickey appear all but guaranteed a roster spot. Jackson recently signed a four-year, $5 million deal that included a fully guaranteed salary for year one ($1.45 million) while Mickey signed a similar deal with the team last season.
Mickey, a six-foot-eight power forward, enters training camp as the Celtics’ best shot-blocker according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. The 22-year-old will probably be the 13th man on the roster –teams are permitted to carry 13 active players for each game — since he is another post player and has some NBA experience. Mickey excelled with the Maine Red Claws last season and during the summer league campaign this summer.
Jackson was considered a potential first-round pick heading into the 2106 draft. However, he lasted until the Celtics snatched him with the No. 45 selection overall. The six-foot-two point guard has a scorer’s mentality and the ability to knock down three-point shots on a regular basis. Jackson, who is expected to spend a majority of his time in the D-League this season, needs to improve his shot-selection and work on his playmaking skills.
That leaves R.J. Hunter, James Young, Marcus Georges-Hunt, and Ben Bentil essentially battling for the final roster spot. Georges-Hunt and Bentil have non-guaranteed deals and will likely end up in with the Red Claws as Boston can designate up to four affiliate players to the D-League.
The Celtics used the No. 51 overall selection in this past year’s draft on Bentil. The six-foot-nine power forward struggled during limited summer league action, compiling 4.0 points and 3.5 caroms over eight games. The Providence product led the Big East in scoring his senior season with over 21 points a game and added 7.7 caroms a contest.
Georges-Hunt went undrafted out of Georgia Tech. The six-foot-five shooting guard saw limited time with during the summer with the Brooklyn Nets, contributing 2.8 points in four games.
Hunter is probably the favorite to land the last roster spot after a strong summer showing. The six-foot-six wing produced 10.2 points and knocked down 47.2 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in five games. Hunter struggled with his shot last season with Boston and Maine.
— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) August 27, 2016
Young, who Pelton feels may get traded, is entering his third NBA season. The 21-year-old, six-foot-six wing has gotten into 60 contests in his two seasons with the Celtics though he has scored in double-figures just once. He also had an up-and-down summer league campaign, producing 7.5 points over 20.5 minutes in six games. Young made 43.4 percent of his three-point shot but canned 32.8 percent of his shots overall.
[Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP Images]