2019-20 ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Wings are commonly the top shooters on the floor and are often relied upon to take on a heavy scoring load.
Defensively, they’ll typically be tasked with suppressing elite scorers on opposing teams. These are the players that will slash,
score and defend, and could very well wind up filling in both as ball handlers and as bigs:
The quietest acquisition the Celtics made all offseason was adding a fully healthy and operable Gordon
Hayward to their roster. A season ago, he was “healthy,” but he sure wasn’t himself. The expectation is that he
will be far closer to his former All-Star form during his second active season with the Celtics.
Many forget how good this guy was before he broke his ankle on Opening Night in 2017. He was an All-Star
in the Western Conference during the 2016-17 season while averaging 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and
1.0 steals per game. He developed himself into an athletic playmaker who was able defend at a high level.
That athleticism will surely show face far more often this season; if not every night, then most nights. He’s
going to be a focal point of the offense with his playmaking and shooting abilities. This version of Hayward –
after a full offseason of workouts with no restrictions – is a player the Celtics simply did not have last season.
Jayson Tatum is the second-highest rated player on the Celtics when it comes to ESPN’s NBArank. Tatum
came in as No. 35 player in the league, behind only Kemba Walker on the Celtics, who was ranked No. 17.
It says a lot about Tatum’s reputation that he is ranked so high after just two seasons in the NBA. The league
knows that he has superstar talent, which was on full display during Boston’s run to Game 7 of the 2018 Eastern
Conference Finals. He was Boston’s No. 1 scoring option during that run.
He might not be the unquestioned No. 1 option this season, but alongside Walker, he should be option 1A
at the very least. Tatum has reportedly worked all summer to ease away from the midrange game, which was
considered by many to be a chink in his armor, and concentrate on 3s and layups. Doing so this season should
result in a spike in both free-throw rate and offensive efficiency for the ultra-talented 21-year-old.
Tatum averaged 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.9 free throw attempts per game last
season. It would be a safe bet to expect all of those numbers to improve this season.
Jaylen Brown was a late addition to Gregg Popovich’s Team USA squad this summer, but he wound up playing
a key role for the team at the World Cup. His average of 20.0 minutes per game ranked fifth on the team (minimum
three games played) and he finished the tournament with averages of 7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4
assists per game.
Those numbers might not raise any eyebrows, but much of Brown’s play did. He was asked to be a defender and
a rebounder, both of which he did at a high level, and he also shot the ball well (48.8 percent on 2s, 35.3 percent
on 3s) and showcased an improved level of aggression.
The Celtics want more of that this season. With the departures of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris,
Brown has moved up the totem pole when it comes to standing within the offense. He, like Tatum, will now
slide into a similar role to the one he filled during the 2018 postseason.
2019–2020 BOSTON CELTICS YEARBOOK 119