Every great team needs a point guard who can rally his troops and become the leader on the floor in any given situation, and this season the Boston Celtics will have a much different face who will be taking those responsibilities.
Former Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving will now hold the reins of the new and improved Celtics as the primary player at the one, and will strive to match the quality of some of the most memorable names in Boston history.
Starter: Kyrie Irving / Projection: 25.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 3.9 RPG, 35.5 PER
Writing about Kyrie Irving as the first option is still odd. Simply looking at it remains surreal. If you somehow have not heard, you are probably residing under a rock and one way or another came across this article. If so, then to recap, the Boston Celtics gave away a previous face of the franchise in Isaiah Thomas as well as Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 unprotected first round pick.
Following the completion of the trade, Thomas reportedly failed his physical in Cleveland which caused a 2020 second rounder as compensation. Celtics president Danny Ainge has successfully completely made over his roster and is seems like he’s done playing the waiting game for a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
While Boston undeniably relinquished a huge portion of their puzzle, they got a fantastic finisher, teammate, and experienced, yet young player with loads of potential in Irving. Exciting times are ahead as it’t not time to see what the new trio in Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford will be able to provide as a new era begins in Beantown.
Backup: Terry Rozier / Projection: 8.0 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.3 RPG, 19.7 PER
Terry Rozier will be a huge indicator on whether or not the second-team back court will be able to have an impact on games. The 2015 16th overall pick improved all of his averages from his rookie campaign to this past season, including going from eight minutes per game to 17.1.
Ainge has proven his faith in Rozier by reportedly refusing to give him up in possible Serge Ibaka and Paul George trades. The Louisville product looked promising in the 2017 summer league, and should expect to carry a larger load after another whole offseason of development. Thus, career-highs in minutes, points, and assists for the backup.
Third off the bench: Shane Larkin / Projection: 4.0 PPG, 1.2 APG, 0.9 RPG, 7.2 PER
The former first rounder has been, for lack of better words, a bust thus far in his career.
Larkin’s posted a career-high in points per game (7.3) during his last full NBA season in 2015, despite being given over 22 minutes. Originally, it was unclear if the 5-foot-11 guard would even make it through training camp with the shortage of roster spots. However, Ainge cleared up two more with the Irving blockbuster and it is likely to see Larkin on the court every once in a while come October.