The Celtics put some finishing touches this week after introducing Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter in Brighton, while also making the contracts of Daniel Theis, Brad Wanamaker and Vincent Poirier official. While the heavy lifting over a tumultuous month appears to be done, there are still several unanswered questions about what comes next for the franchise. A closer look at a few of the more notable areas on that front as we head into the dog days of summer:
1. What is the starting five going to look like?
The Celtics found their replacement at point guard in Kemba Walker for Kyrie Irving but there is a lot of uncertainty about the remaining starting five after an offseason full of turnover. Enes Kanter is the safe choice at starting center to at least begin the season after taking less money to come to Boston but that situation could change depending on the opponent from a night-to-night basis. The case could be made that Kanter’s offensive punch may be needed more with the second unit as well but that’s a shift that I would not expect to be made until midseason.
Beyond that? There are still three spots up for grabs with four obvious candidates in the fold. Jayson Tatum is a smart choice to start given his track record so that leaves three names (Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart) for the final two pieces. Brown is entering a contract year after a season when he adapted nicely to a bench role over the final few months of the regular season. Smart was one of the few Celtics that played above expectations last year and probably will be eager to stay in the starting five after earning an All-Defensive nod for the first time. Meanwhile, Hayward will be in search of a return to his former All-Star form two years out from his horrific ankle injury.
The good news for Stevens is that nearly any duo out of the three should be able to work in the starting five. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to fit and how Stevens wants to manage the rotation. Given how many of last year’s problems stemmed from a slow 10-10 start and a subpar performance by Hayward and Brown within the starting five, there is going to be a lot of added emphasis to get this right out of the gate for Boston. That won’t make the decision any easier for Stevens since someone will have to be accepting of a sixth man role. This offseason did nothing to clear up the logjam on that front.
2. What's the plan for the Celtics to get back towards contending beyond internal improvement?