NBA free agency: Projected starting lineup for Celtics with Dennis Schroeder

NBA free agency: Projected starting lineup for Celtics with Dennis Schroeder

Celtics

NBA free agency: Projected starting lineup for Celtics with Dennis Schroeder

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The Boston Celtics were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs but have re-tooled and will come back as a different team.

First and foremost, longtime Boston executive Danny Ainge has been replaced in the front office by former Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. Meanwhile, Stevens has been replaced as head coach by Ime Udoka.

Kemba Walker is now a member fn the New York Knicks while Al Horford and Enes Kanter have both returned to wear Celtics green.

Dennis Schroeder will go from one legendary franchise to another as he makes the jump from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference all the way to Boston in the East.

As of right now, here is how we project the depth chart will look like for the Celtics once the season begins:

Point Guard

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

STARTER: Dennis Schroeder

DEPTH: Payton Pritchard, Kris Dunn, Yam Madar*

After one season with the Los Angeles Lakers, veteran guard Dennis Schroeder did not get the money he sought in free agency. But he did land on his feet with his new home, offering Boston a capable starter at the one. Meanwhile, as he prepares for his second season in the league, point guard Payton Pritchard has been one of the standouts of the Vegas Summer League thus far. Yam Madar, who was a draft-and-stash pick in 2020, will require a buyout on his contract if the Celtics want to offer him a roster spot for 2021-22.

Shooting Guard

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

STARTER: Marcus Smart

DEPTH: Josh Richardson, Kris Dunn, Carsen Edwards

So long as they have Marcus Smart on their roster, Boston’s defense will always have a sense of grittiness and versatility. But they also have some solid defensive players in Josh Richardson (acquired via trade from the Dallas Mavericks) and Kris Dunn (acquired via trade in a three-team deal) added this offseason. Dunn’s future with the organization is uncertain, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.

Small Forward

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

STARTER: Jaylen Brown

DEPTH: Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford

While in the midst of a career-best season in 2020-21, Boston wing Jaylen Brown suffered an injury that sidelined him for the playoffs. Next season, he can build on the momentum he had as one of the league’s emerging stars. The Celtics also have a pair of recent lottery picks in their wing rotation in Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford. Both prospects would provide a ton of extra value to the organization if they take a leap forward next season.

Power Forward

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

STARTER: Jayson Tatum

DEPTH: Grant Williams, Jabari Parker, Sam Hauser

The Celtics have found their future superstar in Jayson Tatum, who averaged 26.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg with 4.3 apg this past season. But the rest of their rotation in the frontcourt is a bit more unclear. Grant Williams is a solid role player who can add some positive value on both sides of the ball. Otherwise, Boston has some decisions to make with regards to how they use their limited roster spaces. That could mean the end of the road for Jabari Parker, who has a non-guaranteed deal for next season.

Center

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

STARTER: Al Horford

DEPTH: Robert Williams, Enes Kanter, Bruno Fernando

For one of his first major transactions as a newly-appointed NBA executive, Brad Stevens traded Kemba Walker to land veteran big Al Horford – a player he coached from 2016 until 2019. Otherwise, Boston’s frontcourt is a bit crowded. Robert Williams has proven himself as a viable defender and rim protector so he is assured minutes. But the team also signed one-time Boston big Enes Kanter for a reunion and traded for Bruno Fernando. The latter may be used in future moves or stored away simply for depth.

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