Believe it or not, the small forward position is technically the least populous spot on this year’s Celtics depth chart.
Even though they have around five players that could all be considered small forwards if head coach Brad Stevens decides on the starting lineup that played in last year’s season opener, three of them will wind up starting.
This makes for an extremely diverse lineup, with All-Star Gordon Hayward set to make his mark that never happened last year.
Starter: Gordon Hayward / Projection: 19.3 PPG, 4.7 APG, 5.6 RPG, 30.7 PER
Hayward joined forces with his former college coach Brad Stevens last offseason, but only played a total of five minutes with the Celtics in the regular season due to a freak accident.
His injury turned out to be just the first of many for the Celtics’ injuries last season, but Hayward is set to be fully ready by training camp and has recently been playing five-on-five basketball in his free time.
With the huge array of weapons blessing the Boston lineup this year, Hayward’s scoring output will likely take a dip from his most recent All-Star caliber season. However, this will also open up opportunities to load up on assists, and with such a small lineup I expect Hayward to grab more rebounds per game than ever before in his career.
Backup: Semi Ojeleye / Projection: 3.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 14.2 PER
What Semi Ojeleye lacks on the offensive end, he makes up for it with playing tough, hard-nosed defense.
The Celtics drafted the Southern Methodist University product late in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft and Ojeleye has been a decent piece to have off the bench when there is a need for size or grit.
Ojeleye struggled to be efficient even in the summer league, so this year his scoring will most likely remain subpar. The 6-foot-7 forward will also have even more highly talented players above him on the totem pole, so his time to shine may simply never come with the Celtics.