Celtics

Celtics 2020 free agency outlook: Exploring the point guard market

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As the NBA regular season remains on hold, there remains plenty of uncertainty on if and when the 2019-20 campaign will resume in the coming months.

The one thing we know right now is that the NBA calendar will not look normal in the upcoming offseason assuming some kind of postseason is held. That will likely lead to a shorter offseason schedule with a potentially quick turnaround for teams to handle their planning, particularly for squads that are set for potential late postseason runs.

Once a week during the shutdown, we will be taking a deep look at some of these big picture questions to better prepare for what lies ahead for this squad in the years to come in the 2020 offseason. Our next topic: What happens at backup point guard?

Depth chart under contract for 2020-21

Starter: Kemba Walker ($34.3 million)

Can play/run point: Marcus Smart ($13.4 million), Gordon Hayward ($34.1 million)

Overview: Even if you exclude Hayward’s number, this is the area of the roster with the most money tied up already between Smart and Walker for next season. Walker’s age (30) and knee injury history will make keeping his regular-season minutes under control a major priority going forward for the franchise in order to protect their long-term investment and ensure he’s healthy for the postseason. Smart will remain fully capable of running the second unit as needed but his role as a Swiss-army knife for Brad Stevens when injuries pop up to other wings, along with defending multiple positions on the floor makes it unlikely to keep him pegged as a primary backup point guard all year. Defending top wings will be his main priority most nights and it’s evident this season that Stevens would prefer to use another ball-handling guard (Brad Wanamaker) alongside Smart with the second unit on most nights. Carsen Edwards has not showed the passing chops yet at the NBA level to be counted on in that role so there will be a battle for this reserve point guard spot in training camp next year.

In-house candidates: Brad Wanamaker (unrestricted free agent), Tremont Waters (restricted free agent)

Overview: Waters is guaranteed to at least have the chance to compete for a 15-man roster spot in training camp after spending the majority of his rookie season in the G-League and earning a spot on the midseason All-NBA G-League team. The 22-year-old still needs to work on his outside shot and his 5-foot-10 frame is a concern when it comes to handling switches. However, Waters’ passing and dynamic defensive ability has a good chance of outweighing those concerns with another strong summer and training camp.

On the flip side of the coin is the incumbent Brad Wanamaker. The senior citizen of the current Celtics