With the abundance of roster changes Danny Ainge made in preparation for the new season of NBA action, star center Al Horford is the lone starter returning and one of just four players for the entire team.
After a slightly underwhelming opening campaign in Boston, Horford’s overall presence in the paint will be even more critical in helping new additions Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving lead the Celtics to another unforgettable run.
Starter: Al Horford / Projection: 13.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.9 APG, 32.9 PER
Unless the University of Florida product can have a big-time turnaround season, his already low scoring could take yet another dip. With the Celtics boasting names like Irving and Hayward, Al Horford’s efficiency from a points perspective may be impossible to raise.
That said, Horford will likely be able to raise his rebounding, assists and blocking stats which is what can make a player like him so valuable. In this situation, being able to do everything well can be more useful than a couple of things great. Versatile players and facilitators, especially for centers, are becoming increasingly valuable as professional basketball progresses.
Backup: Aron Baynes / Projection: 5.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 14.8 PER
Although Aron Baynes may not exactly be a star player, he is a hint of what Boston needs most to have a complete, well-rounded team.
He is someone who can come in and grab some boards, swat away a couple shot attempts and play big on both ends of the floor which will be a magnificent lift. While Danny should still remain on the search for an upgraded version of Baynes, the 6-foot-10 New Zealander will have to do for now.
Third off the bench: Daniel Theis / Projection: 2.6 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 6.7 PER
25-year-old Daniel Theis signed with Boston on July 20, further adding to the plethora of young players that need to be developed and complicating that whole balancing act even further. The German native has played across seas professionally since 2010-2011, and was named Defensive Player of the Year after appearing in 21 games in the Basketball Bundesliga League.