The Celtics underwent a pretty significant roster overhaul during the offseason, particularly for a team that won 53 regular season games in 2016-17. With nine new players in the fold, Brad Stevens will have to experiment with a variety of new faces in the rotation once training camp kicks off next month. One of the first riddles the coach will have to solve: What starting lineup should he go with?
With Avery Bradley and Amir Johnson off to Detroit and Philadelphia respectively, there will be at least two new players in the opening night starting five come October, and potentially three, depending on how the team elects to use Jae Crowder moving forward. Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas are obviously locks for three of the five spots in the starting unit, but after that the options are plentiful and less clearcut. Will Stevens elect to go big up front with Aron Baynes or shift Horford to center full time? Who gets to start next to Thomas in the backcourt? Will the Celtics opt to start games with small ball?
There are a lot of possibilities to consider, and over the next few weeks of the offseason, I will be periodically breaking down a few of the more intriguing starting lineup units that Stevens may consider. I’ll analyze some of the potential pros and cons of each grouping and take a stab at just how likely we are to see each on opening night in October. With that in mind, let’s take a look at option 1: