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Brad Stevens is not a pilot, but he is first in command as the head coach for the Boston Celtics. So when he says he wants his team to play fast and “fly around” the court, the Celtics better do so.



Who doesn’t want to play fast? After all, the likes of the Golden State Warriors have made playing fast their mantra, even going to the extent of not playing a traditional center at times over the last two seasons.

While Boston did sign Al Horford this offseason, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Celtics will need to play small-ball effectively next season if they are looking to become contenders.

Horford is a fantastic addition to the team and is no doubt an upgrade in Boston’s frontcourt, but can he really “fly around” like Stevens wants to during games next season? In some situations, yes he’ll be able to play as a center when Boston goes small. But in others, Stevens will have to get creative.

If Danny AInge doesn’t pull off any more deals before the season starts, a probable starting lineup -- again, this could look very differently -- could look something like this:

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Al Horford
C: Kelly Olynyk


A solid lineup for sure. But it doesn’t really inspire speed. Below, you will find some different lineup variations that Stevens could puzzle together in certain game time situations.

One thing to note, however. Jae Crowder will always be featured in these scenarios due to his ability to play the small forward and power forward position.

One lineup possibility:

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Amir Johnson


A good defensive lineup that features rookie Jaylen Brown. This type of lineup would suit a player like Brown who thrives in transition and in an open court setting. Just check out some of his play from Summer League. 

Another possible lineup:

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Marcus Smart
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Al Horford


A little less-traditional with Smart at the three, but a little more effective on both ends of the floor with Horford roaming the paint. Rozier, for those who have lived under a rock this summer, looks ready to step in as a replacement for Evan Turner’s ball-handling duties. Here’s a refresher for those who don’t know what I’m talking about.

And another:

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Gerald Green
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Amir Johnson


I’m not the world’s biggest fan of having Johnson featured in two of these lineups, but he’s an athletic guy who can make his presence felt in the paint. And hey! A Gerald Green sighting! Good to have Green back in green. Hopefully we’ll all see inappropriate and disrespectful jams like this one again this season:



Second-to-last one:

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Al Horford


I like Horford in the lineup because of the elite-perimeter defense that is on display above. Can you imagine that? Rozier, Smart and Brown ball-hawking the opposition? You could even throw Bradley in the mix at some point when someone needs a break!

And last but not least:

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Marcus Smart
C: Jae Crowder


OKAY, OKAY, I know; I understand. This is a really weird lineup but it would be really interesting to see. We just discussed the defensive potential of Rozier, Bradley, Brown and Smart, so why not have them all in at the same time? After all, Smart has shown the ability to defend at the power forward position. Need I remind anyone of Smart's heroic performance against Paul Millsap in the playoffs, effectively shutting him out in the fourth quarter and overtime?



Jae Crowder playing as a center is a bit of a stretch, but could be used as a Draymond Green-esque small-ball center. Crowder did say to ESPN a few days back that he wants to be on the All-NBA Defense teams, so I would feel comfortable with giving this lineup a chance.

What type of “fly around” lineup would you want to see on the court next season? Let us know in the comments and have fun with it. But please, be realistic.


Photo Courtesy: Charles Krupa/AP

Follow David McCracken on Twitter @crackemc

David McCracken 7/26/2016 09:00:00 AM Edit
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