Celtics Plan, Summer 2021

brendan f

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These days a poor man's Horford (perhaps destitute in the case of Fernando?) is probably more valuable than a rich man's Kanter. Fernando can move better defensively than Brown and has some "switch" potential so that's meaningful. We've seen what Moses Brown's value is. He's been a thrown-in in trades for a reason. When you can pay Kanter--who is still very good at what he does--the minimum it shows you there isn't much room in the modern game for old-school centers.
 

DGreenwood

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From that Zach Harper Athletic article:
Weiss seems to think the Celtics will revisit the "Two Bigs" experiment despite the poor results from last year. I agree that Al/TL is a better skill set combo than Theis/TT, but can Al still play the four from a physical standpoint?

What does Horford’s return to the rotation mean for Williams III?

This should be a good thing for Williams. Besides the fact that he now has a mentor who thrives in everything he doesn’t, Horford can fit in well at the four next to Williams because he is such a savvy perimeter player. Boston went double big a lot last season, and it was hard to look at offensively, but that was mostly with Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson out there. Horford and Williams are much more potent versions of those two guys, so they can make a lot of that stuff work while still being just versatile enough on defense to hold up against typical small-ball lineups. But Horford probably won’t play a ton of minutes anyway, so he and Williams should manage to split the center rotation pretty easily.
 

benhogan

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From that Zach Harper Athletic article:
Weiss seems to think the Celtics will revisit the "Two Bigs" experiment despite the poor results from last year. I agree that Al/TL is a better skill set combo than Theis/TT, but can Al still play the four from a physical standpoint?
Two BIGs was a mistake last season and would be less than ideal this season. Al's age and TL's injury history make their minutes precious. The most efficient way to use them is separately at the 5 for 20-24mpg.

Tatum or Brown can start/play at the 4, Juancho will back them up and a fitter/healthier Grant can also play the bigger wing role.
 

nighthob

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From that Zach Harper Athletic article:
Weiss seems to think the Celtics will revisit the "Two Bigs" experiment despite the poor results from last year. I agree that Al/TL is a better skill set combo than Theis/TT, but can Al still play the four from a physical standpoint?
Zach needs to get back on his meds, Horford isn’t a modern 4 in the three wing era. His days of chasing around perimeter players is over.
 

Jimbodandy

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I don't see the "2 bigs" idea working out beyond an occasional different look or matchup.
I don't think that it will be all that common either, but I'm not as concerned as some here if it does. We're talking about 1 guy who can't shoot in the Al + TL scenario, not 2 guys. Same with EK + Al.

EK + TL would be an abortion.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I don't think that it will be all that common either, but I'm not as concerned as some here if it does. We're talking about 1 guy who can't shoot in the Al + TL scenario, not 2 guys. Same with EK + Al.

EK + TL would be an abortion.
I think they are more concerned about TL/Al on defense.
 

benhogan

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1. Part of the attraction of having Al is spreading the floor offensively and taking the opposing Center away from the rim, which opens the floor for the JAYS. That ends if Al and TL play together.

2. Part of the attraction of having TL is his +++ rim protection and the help defense he provides in the lane. That ends when you make him a perimeter defender guarding a wing.

3. Part of the attraction of having Al and TL split 40-48mpg is not being forced into playing Kanter more than situationally. That ends when you play Al/TL together.
 

Just a bit outside

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1. Part of the attraction of having Al is spreading the floor offensively and taking the opposing Center away from the rim, which opens the floor for the JAYS. That ends if Al and TL play together.

2. Part of the attraction of having TL is his +++ rim protection and the help defense he provides in the lane. That ends when you make him a perimeter defender guarding a wing.

3. Part of the attraction of having Al and TL split 40-48mpg is not being forced into playing Kanter more than situationally. That ends when you play Al/TL together.
Totally agree. I think Brad had a good off-season but if the plan is to play Al and TimeLord together I retract my grade and give him an F. I can’t believe that in the modern NBA anyone thinks they should play together unless there is some very rare and specific matchup.
 

Jimbodandy

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I think they are more concerned about TL/Al on defense.
I'm not psyched about it either, but I guess the point is that TL chasing big wings around for a few minutes doesn't scare me all that much. If we play say Indiana and run out AL and TL for a few minutes while Turner and Sabonis are out there, I'm not sure what the problem is. TL and EK would be a problem because both would be overmatched against a big wing/mobile big AND neither can shoot. It would suck at both ends.
 

benhogan

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I'm not psyched about it either, but I guess the point is that TL chasing big wings around for a few minutes doesn't scare me all that much. If we play say Indiana and run out AL and TL for a few minutes while Turner and Sabonis are out there, I'm not sure what the problem is. TL and EK would be a problem because both would be overmatched against a big wing/mobile big AND neither can shoot. It would suck at both ends.
Ime can play Al at the 5, spread the floor, and let the JAYs work on their layup game.

Defensively you'd let one of the JAYs stop Myles on the perimeter.

Pritchard screwed up his roster, he should have sold high on Myles years ago. It felt like they couldn't give him away last year to bid on Gordo
 

Jimbodandy

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Ime can play Al at the 5, spread the floor, and let the JAYs work on their layup game.

Defensively you'd let one of the JAYs stop Myles on the perimeter.

Pritchard screwed up his roster, he should have sold high on Myles years ago. It felt like they couldn't give him away last year to bid on Gordo
In general, I'm right there with you guys. I'd love to see Al and TL split 48 minutes basically evenly most nights, and Kanter gets minutes in specific matchups, days off, injuries, etc. I'm just expecting that we'll occasionally see Al plus TL and that it won't be a catastrophe.

As the only Turner-phile on here, even I don't think that you have to game plan for him. Usually we will be able to run a Jay at "4" and be fine.
 

benhogan

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In general, I'm right there with you guys. I'd love to see Al and TL split 48 minutes basically evenly most nights, and Kanter gets minutes in specific matchups, days off, injuries, etc. I'm just expecting that we'll occasionally see Al plus TL and that it won't be a catastrophe.

As the only Turner-phile on here, even I don't think that you have to game plan for him. Usually we will be able to run a Jay at "4" and be fine.
Poor Myles went from Team USA starting Center to big man pariah in 18mths, for no apparent reason
 

PedroKsBambino

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I understand most here hate the two-big, but I think it is more situational. Bucks and Sixers are examples of where I think you want to use it; Lakers likely a third. Those are three of the top five or so teams, and that matters some in thinking about the roster, imo. Even if you don’t do it anywhere near a majority of the minutes, you want to enable it as an option. And I do think we’ll see it some—-Kanter as a bullyball 5 with one of the others in to provide rim protection is another permutation you might use against certain teams and potentially as a way to put a bigger defensive/rebounding group at one end.

I also think it’s not totally clear whether Stevens believes that two bigs can be the optimal defensive setup—-there’s reason based on his coaching to think he would. So creating some offensive optionality—with both Horford and TL being able to pass and Horford being able to shoot the three—allows you to play two bigs potentially without the logjam we saw last year when they tried it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I understand most here hate the two-big, but I think it is more situational. Bucks and Sixers are examples of where I think you want to use it; Lakers likely a third. Those are three of the top five or so teams, and that matters some in thinking about the roster, imo. Even if you don’t do it anywhere near a majority of the minutes, you want to enable it as an option. And I do think we’ll see it some—-Kanter as a bullyball 5 with one of the others in to provide rim protection is another permutation you might use against certain teams and potentially as a way to put a bigger defensive/rebounding group at one end.

I also think it’s not totally clear whether Stevens believes that two bigs can be the optimal defensive setup—-there’s reason based on his coaching to think he would. So creating some offensive optionality—with both Horford and TL being able to pass and Horford being able to shoot the three—allows you to play two bigs potentially without the logjam we saw last year when they tried it.
Udoka is at risk of being overwhelmed with so many options. He could play a big lineup with JRich/Smart in the backcourt and Horford/TL at the 4/5 one minute then go small with Tatum at the 4 and three guards while mixing and matching everything in between. His greatest challenge could be allowing his players to find their comfort zone in a consistent rotation.
 

benhogan

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How many MPG and games are people expecting to get out of TL and Horford?

I'd expect them to be handled somewhat carefully during the regular season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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How many MPG and games are people expecting to get out of TL and Horford?

I'd expect them to be handled somewhat carefully during the regular season.
This is why I don’t understand the talk about playing them together. Aside from neither being good moving their feet out by the 3-point line which takes away their defensive strength but it also goes against the idea of protecting them physically by not overextending their minites. It isn’t like we have a shortage of wings to take a ton of those minutes.
 

lovegtm

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This is why I don’t understand the talk about playing them together. Aside from neither being good moving their feet out by the 3-point line which takes away their defensive strength but it also goes against the idea of protecting them physically by not overextending their minites. It isn’t like we have a shortage of wings to take a ton of those minutes.
Yeah, Al Horford is still a good player, but he should absolutely be kept in shrinkwrap with the goal of having him fresh and available in April.
 

benhogan

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And I do think we’ll see it some—-Kanter as a bullyball 5 with one of the others in to provide rim protection is another permutation you might use against certain teams and potentially as a way to put a bigger defensive/rebounding group at one end.

I also think it’s not totally clear whether Stevens believes that two bigs can be the optimal defensive setup—-there’s reason based on his coaching to think he would. So creating some offensive optionality—with both Horford and TL being able to pass and Horford being able to shoot the three—allows you to play two bigs potentially without the logjam we saw last year when they tried it.
You think Ime will try Kanter + TL or Kanter + Al?
I'm struggling to see the advantage there on either side of the ball. You can't put Enes on the floor unless he is creating an offensive advantage. Even with Al's outside shooting, we'd really be clogging the paint offensively.

I'm never against experimenting during the regular season with different combos BUT Jaylen or Buff Tatum or Juancho at the 4 feels like the better player to combo with one of our Centers (TL/AL/EK) even when facing Giannis/Brooks or AD/Dwight. Which Power Forward on Philly has us concerned, Simmons? or Tobias Harris? I've seen Jaylen capably guard Ben Simmons

Maybe we've been conditioned to just expect injuries/COVID, so the entire roster will be in play with different combos. The Celtics also have some good defensive depth besides JAYs in Smart, JRich, Romeo. This team is going to be much more switchable than in recent years (w/out a small PG), they will be able to hold up in the halfcourt against bigger wings/5s.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I think people focus on "who is starting" as a monolithic rather than thinking through 82 games and lots of different matchups. And I think some here are pretty fixated on playing small as always the right choice, rather than the preferred choice when you can---which is different. You need to fill 48 minutes at the 4---you can't just say "buff Tatum is better matchup" because while that is always true, he is only going to play ~36 minutes a game. I'm talking about the rest, the days he's off, the few games he is in foul trouble, etc. as well.

So, yes, I think there will be games where someone is out, and they use Kanter and TL for stretches. An opponent with smaller center can't defend that pair; an opponent with weaker 3pt shooting at 4-5 can't expose them. There will be times Tatum is out for a game or in foul trouble and you steal a few minutes with TL/Horford or Kanter (because in that scenario you are already using Juancho a bunch). I agree they'll see whether Juancho fits as the 4 when they want to rest Tatum---and believe what they'll conclude is he is often a better fit than playing two centers but not always. I also think they recognize that Kanter is useful offensively as a bench scorer in certain matchups even allowing he's weak at the other end. Stevens certainly recognizes there are roles based on situation, and I hope and expect Udoka does as well. There is a world where Grant takes some of those minutes instead of a center and I think after last year they are creating optionality in case Grant isn't really playable this year.

I haven't seen anyone arguing that they should be playing two bigs 20 minutes a game or anything like that, but I do believe they purposefully put three credible centers on the roster---two vets and a rising younger player---with a theory on how to get them minutes that help the team.
 

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I think people were WAY too down on 2 bigs because they thought of it as an easy fix, when really the team was just struggling. Those lineups graded out fine (better than a lot of the small lineups) last year. I think that Udoka will use a decent amount of 2 bigs based on matchups and it will probably be effective when used correctly. There are plenty of lineups around the league where there is a 4 that can't beat Al off the dribble consistently. Honestly there are a lot where I'd be thrilled if they tried (just like dumb teams that post Smart and Harden because they are short, but because they are strong they actually defend that better than the perimeter). If you want to make your offense a mediocre PF attacking Al Horford off the dribble feel free.
Just off the top of my head without looking at who we play in the West the following groups will probably get a dose of 2 bigs from the Celtics.... ATL starters, CHI starters, CLE, DAL, DEN , GS, IND, LAL, NOP, ORL.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I think people were WAY too down on 2 bigs because they thought of it as an easy fix, when really the team was just struggling. Those lineups graded out fine (better than a lot of the small lineups) last year. I think that Udoka will use a decent amount of 2 bigs based on matchups and it will probably be effective when used correctly. There are plenty of lineups around the league where there is a 4 that can't beat Al off the dribble consistently. Honestly there are a lot where I'd be thrilled if they tried (just like dumb teams that post Smart and Harden because they are short, but because they are strong they actually defend that better than the perimeter). If you want to make your offense a mediocre PF attacking Al Horford off the dribble feel free.
Just off the top of my head without looking at who we play in the West the following groups will probably get a dose of 2 bigs from the Celtics.... ATL starters, CHI starters, CLE, DAL, DEN , GS, IND, LAL, NOP, ORL.
Or they were down on it because of the personal. No one likes TT.
 

HomeRunBaker

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To further illustrate the change in our timeline, the Celtics are working out veteran Euro player Anthony Brown, former Laker 2nd round pick wing of the Lakers following a 5-year career at Stanford. Could there still be deals out there that Brad is working? I still don’t believe that this is our training camp roster.
 

benhogan

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To further illustrate the change in our timeline, the Celtics are working out veteran Euro player Anthony Brown, former Laker 2nd round pick wing of the Lakers following a 5-year career at Stanford. Could there still be deals out there that Brad is working? I still don’t believe that this is our training camp roster.
with COVID, having a 15 player roster + 2 two-ways may not be enough

after watching the Sox disintegrate roster-wise, more NBA-ready/exp/older talent in Maine would be wise.

also agree, Dealer Brad may be setting up a multiplayer deal
 

JM3

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I think people were WAY too down on 2 bigs because they thought of it as an easy fix, when really the team was just struggling. Those lineups graded out fine (better than a lot of the small lineups) last year. I think that Udoka will use a decent amount of 2 bigs based on matchups and it will probably be effective when used correctly. There are plenty of lineups around the league where there is a 4 that can't beat Al off the dribble consistently. Honestly there are a lot where I'd be thrilled if they tried (just like dumb teams that post Smart and Harden because they are short, but because they are strong they actually defend that better than the perimeter). If you want to make your offense a mediocre PF attacking Al Horford off the dribble feel free.
Just off the top of my head without looking at who we play in the West the following groups will probably get a dose of 2 bigs from the Celtics.... ATL starters, CHI starters, CLE, DAL, DEN , GS, IND, LAL, NOP, ORL.
It looks like Theis/RW lineups were pretty good, Theis/TT lineups were petty bad (but about the same as TT/Tatum lineups), & RW/TT lineups was their worst lineup (fortunately they only played together for 1 minute all season).

That kinda shows they think of Theis as the move guy, not RW & that they wouldn't be above using Horford in that role.

I just don't see it as being too likely for more than a few minutes per night as both should be load-managed & we have a lot more wing depth this season.

Looking at the lineup data, a couple combos that played not an insignificant # of minutes together that were successful that may be harbingers of things to come:

Jaylen/Nesmith
Smart/Pritchard
 

benhogan

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i think that starting Smart and Pritchard is an open invitation to teams to attack Pritchard.
I don't get too hung up on who starts the 1st and 3rd quarters, I just want balanced lineups. I think Payton/Smart balance each other, unless JRich can hit 38+% of his open 3s.

Also, PP will be a much more disciplined defender than Kemba. I'd expect PP to pick up on-ball defense much higher this season which is what I'd want from him. I expect Ime isn't going to tolerate bad defense so if he can't hold his own for 5-7 seconds switching he'll be on the bench
 

benhogan

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For those that like to play the "regular season MPG estimate" game (I don't) before camp even opens, Jay King from the Athletic has put down some initial thoughts

https://theathletic.com/2826487/2021/09/15/celtics-rotation-projection-rob-williams-vs-al-horford-who-gets-crunchtime-minutes/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Minutes Per Game
JT 36
JB 36
Marcus 33
JRich 30
Dennis 27
TL 24
Horford 24
Nesmith18
Juancho 6
PP 6

Obviously, this was a 1 game sample, and won't be the average (he noted a lot would change based on matchups)

He explained in greater detail some of his controversial points :
1. Start TL/ close with Horford
2. Close with JRich
3. Kanter will play most games, match up based, injuries, load mgmt for Al/TL
4. DS minutes not enough?
5. Why not more PP?
6. Stagger the JAYs
 

Devizier

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Minutes Per Game
JT 36
JB 36
Marcus 33
JRich 30
Dennis 27
TL 24
Horford 24
Nesmith18
Juancho 6
PP 6

Obviously, this was a 1 game sample, and won't be the average (he noted a lot would change based on matchups)

He explained in greater detail some of his controversial points :
For those who are counting, King basically assumes career highs in minutes for the top 5 guys on a team with more depth at their respective positions than almost any that these guys have ever played on before.
 

benhogan

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For those who are counting, King basically assumes career highs in minutes for the top 5 guys on a team with more depth at their respective positions than almost any that these guys have ever played on before.
Obviously, this was a 1 game sample, and won't be the average (he noted a lot would change based on matchups)
Tatum and Smart roughly averaged those MPG last season. BUT agree the team is deeper and would rather not see players burned out during the regular season
 

Saints Rest

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For those that like to play the "regular season MPG estimate" game (I don't) before camp even opens, Jay King from the Athletic has put down some initial thoughts

https://theathletic.com/2826487/2021/09/15/celtics-rotation-projection-rob-williams-vs-al-horford-who-gets-crunchtime-minutes/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Minutes Per Game
JT 36
JB 36
Marcus 33
JRich 30
Dennis 27
TL 24
Horford 24
Nesmith18
Juancho 6
PP 6

Obviously, this was a 1 game sample, and won't be the average (he noted a lot would change based on matchups)

He explained in greater detail some of his controversial points :
1. Start TL/ close with Horford
2. Close with JRich
3. Kanter will play most games, match up based, injuries, load mgmt for Al/TL
4. DS minutes not enough?
5. Why not more PP?
6. Stagger the JAYs
I agree with you that MPG averages over the season in today's NBA is pretty meaningless.

Your earlier query about TL/AL management and overall fulfillment of 48 MPG at the 5 is more salient. There are essentially four game-type possibilities:
  1. TL and Al both active and playing. In this case, I think it's probably something like 28/20 (TL/AL) most games, pending foul trouble. And very little time at the 5 for anyone else. This probably means a DNP for Enes and maybe some cursory 4 minutes for Grant.
  2. TL active and Al inactive. In this case, maybe TL bumps up to 30-32. Enes and Grant probably split the remaining 16-18 minutes, matchup dependent.
  3. TL inactive and Al active. In this case, maybe Al bumps up to 26-30 while Enes and Grant split the remaining 18-24 minutes, matchup dependent.
  4. Both TL and Al inactive (presumably this would only happen in a rare instance due to legit injuries to both, and not to "load management." This is like a bullpen game, where they woudl have to get by squeezing minutes out of Kanter/Grant/Hernangomez/et al.
Hopefully, the load management and rest days that bring us options 2 & 3 will allow us to avoid option 4. My big question is how options 1, 2, & 3 layout over any given stretch of games? For example, do they go 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, repeat? Or something more like 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, repeat. Either of those two would mean that each of AL and TL would sit one game in every five. Is that too many games played? Too many missed?
 

bellowthecat

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For those who are counting, King basically assumes career highs in minutes for the top 5 guys on a team with more depth at their respective positions than almost any that these guys have ever played on before.
In the article King states that this is what he would do if he coached the team and this is "not necessarily a prediction of what Udoka will do."

Agree that he is likely too top heavy for Tatum and Brown's minutes.
 

benhogan

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I agree with you that MPG averages over the season in today's NBA is pretty meaningless.

Your earlier query about TL/AL management and overall fulfillment of 48 MPG at the 5 is more salient. There are essentially four game-type possibilities:
  1. TL and Al both active and playing. In this case, I think it's probably something like 28/20 (TL/AL) most games, pending foul trouble. And very little time at the 5 for anyone else. This probably means a DNP for Enes and maybe some cursory 4 minutes for Grant.
  2. TL active and Al inactive. In this case, maybe TL bumps up to 30-32. Enes and Grant probably split the remaining 16-18 minutes, matchup dependent.
  3. TL inactive and Al active. In this case, maybe Al bumps up to 26-30 while Enes and Grant split the remaining 18-24 minutes, matchup dependent.
  4. Both TL and Al inactive (presumably this would only happen in a rare instance due to legit injuries to both, and not to "load management." This is like a bullpen game, where they woudl have to get by squeezing minutes out of Kanter/Grant/Hernangomez/et al.
Hopefully, the load management and rest days that bring us options 2 & 3 will allow us to avoid option 4. My big question is how options 1, 2, & 3 layout over any given stretch of games? For example, do they go 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, repeat? Or something more like 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, repeat. Either of those two would mean that each of AL and TL would sit one game in every five. Is that too many games played? Too many missed?
Yea Saints, something like that sounds about right

I'd add two more Center MPG permutations:
#1A. TL and Al both active and playing. TL 20mpg + Al 20mpg + Kanter 8mpg used against someone like Embiid or another bruiser
#1B TL and Al both active and playing. TL 20mpg + Al 20mpg + Juancho or Grant 8mpg used against Bam or small ball heavy teams

Seems like a lot of people like the idea of Al/TL playing together, which I'm 100% against due to getting the most out of their precious healthy minutes (and ironic since I was the biggest Baynes/Horford stan)
 

sezwho

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Seems like a lot of people like the idea of Al/TL playing together, which I'm 100% against due to getting the most out of their precious healthy minutes (and ironic since I was the biggest Baynes/Horford stan)
Yes, I’ve been surprised at the support for 2bigs (that should be an MC name) due to what I saw as very poor results last year.

There was evidence presented above that certain of those 2 big matchups performed reasonably well, but that doesn’t address the goal of limiting Al/TL minutes purely for health. Having them both on the meter at the same time seems like something to avoid.
 

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Seems like a lot of people like the idea of Al/TL playing together, which I'm 100% against due to getting the most out of their precious healthy minutes (and ironic since I was the biggest Baynes/Horford stan)
Speaking only for myself here, I don't like the idea of Al and TL playing together at all. It's not an optimal use of resources. I just don't think that it's a Greek tragedy if it happens once in a while. Just want to clarify that.