The Boston Celtics concluded their preseason in Montreal on Friday night. As the team travels back to Boston, there’s a ton of takeaways and questions still to be answered all before the weekend ends as the regular season begins in three days.
Here are some takeaways/ noteworthy happenings to keep in mind:
1.Joe Mazzulla and the rotation/ lineups:
Joe Mazzulla has done a great job as head coach of the Celtics. He was put into a tough situation late in the offseason with not much time to prepare. But he’s going to stick with what works best and so far it’s been great. He’s calm and composed, which I think the team appreciates and respects during the games.
Mazzulla still needs to figure out the proper rotation and lineups for the season. He’s leaned heavily on his veterans throughout most of the first half in the preseason games. However guys like Sam Hauser and Grant Williams have legitimate roles that they’ll need adequate minutes for.
The lineup I’ve seen the most and like the most has been the small set of Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. With the defensive identity of this team, the Celtics are able to run a single-big lineup more often than not.
The Celtics need to sign at least one more player to abide by the NBA’s roster rules of 14 players on the roster. It appears Noah Vonleh will make the roster due to his size and the team’s need for length with Rob Williams out.
The thing with Vonleh is that he isn’t a center, despite his size and length. He’s been a foul machine throughout the preseason, but he’s able to get rebounds which offers second chance opportunities.
If Vonleh is signed, there’s still another roster spot open and it’ll go to Justin Jackson. There’s been speculation that Boston will keep an available spot open throughout the season for roster flexibility.
I believe Mfiondu Kabengele will be in Boston more often than not this season and perhaps gets himself converted to the 15-man in a similar way Sam Hauser did last season.
I do believe Brad Stevens will probably be covertly active around the trade deadline in February.
3.Shooting from deep
Despite what we’ve seen in the last two preseason games, shooting the 3 ball has been inconsistent to say the least. Sam Hauser and Derrick White lit it up but Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart struggled hard.
I’m expecting someone to step up as a legitimate threat from behind the arc. With the potential lineups and amount of depth, someone is going to be open for those shots. Last season it was Grant and he did it well especially when it mattered the most.
This season, it could very well again be Grant or Hauser or even Pritchard as a spark plug off the bench. But someone is going to have to step up and fill that role for Boston this season.
I don’t want the addition of Blake Griffin to be an under appreciated signing. Griffin has been great so far since joining Boston both on and off the court that is. His defensive presence will make an impact whenever he’s called into the game and his natural instincts as a player is invaluable on this team.
Follow us on Twitter @CelticsFiles
Photo Credit: Boston Globe Staff