I’ll be at the TD Garden Sunday afternoon to see the new and improved Boston Celtics as they host the Hornets for their first preseason game of the 2022-23 season. Here’s what I’m looking forward to seeing.
I’m eager to see the beginning of Joe Mazzulla as a head coach. The entire organization believes in Joe and his abilities to lead this team and that includes the players as well. Mazzulla’s been around for a few years and has worked closely with the core of the team developing defensive schematics against various teams throughout the last year. He has a great basketball mind and I’m looking forward to seeing him maneuver around the sidelines as head coach.
There’s still roster spots to fill, which can make for a more exciting preseason. The C’s have five players on training camp deals and two available spots on the 15-man roster. The NBA requires all teams to carry at least 14 players on their rosters, so expect another signing of some sort within the next two weeks before the start of the regular season. One of the following has a legitimate chance of making Boston’s roster: Justin Jackson, Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman, Brodric Thomas, Luka Samanic. The need for depth in certain areas is still very much needed and I believe two of these players can make the team.
Boston recently acquired Blake Griffin to hopefully be a savvy vet who can defend well and produce on the other end. He’s definitely no longer Blake Griffin of the past that once jumped over a KIA sedan in the 2011 dunk contest. But on a depleted Nets team that was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Celtics, Griffin ranked first in the league in charges drawn last year. He might only have a few years left in the tank and it might prove to be good to have him here in Boston.
The center position is still incomplete and with both Rob Williams and Luke Kornet on the injury list, it’s hard to imagine what this position group is going to look like. If the season was to start tomorrow, the Celtics have Al Horford, Grant Williams, and Griffin to hold down the center position. I don’t think we should expect much of a double-big lineup in the preseason but there’s potential for Grant and Griffin to be paired on the court together considering the current lack of depth at the position.
It’ll be interesting to see the lineups and rotations Mazzulla deploys. I understand it’s preseason but this is where Mazzulla will get his practice at finding the right player pairings and evaluating different groupings to see what will work best. I’m curious to see how Mazzulla will navigate substitutions from the sidelines, managing minutes, and making sure he sees what he needs to from everyone on the roster.
Keeping in mind that it’s preseason, it’s fair to say we should see a healthy dose of the players that are on trading camp deals. With at least one more signing still to come, one of these guys will most likely be with Boston this season. It’ll take the course of the preseason before the Celtics finalize their roster.
When it comes to finalizing the roster, there’s still room to believe that Mfiondu Kabengele could in fact land in Boston on their 15-man roster. His current two-way contract could be converted to an NBA contract if the Celtics feel he’s ready to contribute for them- which is why the lingering theory of keeping the 15th roster spot available is a legitimate thing.
It’s going to be great being back in the Garden for the first time to witness up close and personal what the new and improved Celtics are going to look like this season.
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