2021 Boston Celtics Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Kemba Walker||8||Payton Pritchard||11|
|Shooting Guard||Marcus Smart||36||Evan Fournier||94||Aaron Nesmith||26|
|Small Forward||Jaylen Brown||7||Semi Ojeleye||37|
|Power Forward||Jayson Tatum||0||Grant Williams||40|
|Center||Tristan Thompson||13||Robert Williams||44||Moritz Wagner||20|
The season got off to a tough start for the Celtics as they lost Gordon Hayward to a horrifying injury just a few minutes into their season opener but that, and many other injuries, did not keep the team from exceeding expectations as they finished second in the Eastern Conference with a 55-27 record before losing 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Between injuries and rest, the Celtics only had three players appear in at least 80 games last season. Kyrie Irving missed 22 games, Horford 10 games, Brown 12 games, while Smart and Marcus Morris missed 28 games each. They will look to not only get healthy but build on last season’s success. With LeBron James taking his talents to Los Angeles, and with one of the best coaches in the NBA, the Celtics are primed to take over as the top team in the Eastern Conference this season. Not only will their entire starting lineup from last season return, providing much-needed continuity for the young Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but the return of Gordon Hayward will have a huge impact on the outlook of the team.
After appearing in just 60 games last season, five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving will return for his second season in a Celtics uniform and leads one of the deepest point guard groups in the league. Irving averaged 24.4 points on a career-high 49.1 percent shooting in his first year under head coach Brad Stevens but saw his season end early due to injury. Behind Irving, the Celtics have two excellent guards in Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. Smart is a defensive monster that still struggles to shoot the ball but he plays hard and his hustle inspires the bench unit. Terry Rozier did a fantastic job filling in for Irving last season and averaged 11.3 points and 2.9 assists per game. With Marcus Smart spending time backing up at the shooting guard position, as well, Rozier looks to see the bulk of the time running the second unit off the bench. After taking a massive leap forward and averaging 14.5 points on 46.5 percent shooting last season, Jaylen Brown will once again start for Boston at the shooting guard position. Having Brown alongside Irving gives the Celtics an excellent one-two punch of guards that can hit from the outside, initiate the offense, and drive to the basket with ease. Marcus Smart will spend time behind Brown, while also playing some backup point guard, with Jabari Bird potentially getting some minutes should injuries take place.
The Celtics have the luxury of having both Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward that can start at the small forward position, however, it looks like a healthy Hayward will secure those honors with Tatum moving down to the power forward position this season. Hayward’s season last year ended after just a few minutes but he looks to be healthy as the Celtics head into the season, although his minutes may be limited as the season starts. Tatum exceeded almost all expectations last season after being thrust into a larger role after Hayward’s injury and averaged 13.9 points, five rebounds and shot 43.4 percent from beyond-the-arc. Tatum’s ability to run in transition alongside Brown, stretch the floor, defend multiple positions, and initiate offense should help the Celtics offense improve drastically this season. The Celtics don’t have a lot of depth behind both Tatum and Hayward but Marcus Morris provides them with the defensive versatility to let Stevens get creative with lineups alongside both Tatum and Hayward should he need to. Morris was extremely impactful on both sides of the floor for Boston last season and will continue to see significant minutes despite playing off the bench.
Al Horford continues to be one of the most underrated big men in the NBA and his ability to play multiple positions give the Celtics even more options and ways to get creative on both ends of the floor. If both Hayward and Tatum at the forward positions then Horford will move down to center where he can create matchup nightmares for the majority of opponents Boston will face. He is one of the best passing big men in the league and the Celtics were 7.1 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor last season. Behind Horford, the Celtics have Aron Baynes who started 67 games for them last season. Baynes is a defensive-minded player that is limited on offense but gives the Celtics a stable backup at center.