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Brad Stevens has a lot to think about next season. With arguably the most flexible roster in the NBA, there are many different line-up combinations the Boston Celtics will have at their fingertips. Stevens has said that there are no more positions in the NBA, and all players can be described as ball-handlers, wings, and bigs. With this mentality, there are many Celtics players that can fall into many different positions within a line-up. Here I will be discussing the possibility of a five-man squad including Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, Marcus Morris, and Al Horford.

While I'm not sure if this is the most likely starting five for Boston next season, I do think it is a line-up that will be utilized and may have potential to begin games. There are definitely many more combinations the Celtics may go with, but I thought that this was one of the most intriguing. Immediately upon seeing the names above, you will realize that Hayward is in the shooting guard position. Throughout his career, Gordon has been a forward. That being said, he can handle the ball very well and shoot efficiently. This gives Stevens a man that can be both a ball-handler and a wing simultaneously.

After noticing the obscure positioning, it is likely you will notice that this squad is very big. Excluding Isaiah for obvious reasons, this line-up has an average height of about 6'8. These five players would create match-up problems for just about any team in the league. Not only are they big and long, they can also spread the floor. Each player can shoot efficiently from varying spots on the floor, giving the Celtics a strange combination of size and shooting that could be deadly.

Newly acquired Marcus Morris gives the squad some added toughness and grit, and is the perfect player to have next to Crowder. They are similar players in terms of their determination and passion for the game. I believe that Jae can help Marcus become a better defender, something that will always be important for the C's. Two passionate players that can score the ball and defend on the other end are great to have in just about any five man combination.

This team should have no problem scoring points with their abnormal size and shooting ability. In addition to this, however, the passing and play-making could be incredible. Isaiah has shown his ability to distribute the ball in previous seasons, averaging 5.9 assists per game last year. With more scorers on the roster in Hayward and possibly Morris, Thomas will have even more opportunities to play the maestro. Horford is also an extraordinary play-maker at his size, and Gordon averaged 5.2 assists per game in Utah in 2013-14, a showing of his potential value as a ball-distributer.

This rotation will undoubtedly have trouble with fast guards. Without defensive hound Avery Bradley taking on the tougher guard assignment for Isaiah, the point guard will be forced to match-up against players such as John Wall and Russell Westbrook. This is, statistically, the worst defensive player in the NBA going against some of the league's fastest, most explosive, and most un-guardable players. Hayward may have trouble guarding some shooting guards at his size, meaning Thomas will have no help from his fellow back court player.

The redeeming factor of the guard problem is that the front court will probably be pretty great defensively. Crowder and Horford have already shown their ability to defend, both ending up with positive defensive box plus/minus last season. Morris isn't far off, and being inserted into a line-up with two great defenders will definitely improve his defense as well.

All in all, I think that this is an interesting line-up that can definitely be utilized on both sides of the ball. Offensively, it will create a ton of match-up problems for other teams. While the defensive end is definitely less certain, there is a chance that Crowder, Morris, and Horford can make up for any short-comings that may be exploited. This is just one possibility amongst a slew of positive combinations.

Image: Brian Babineau/ Getty Images

Christian Robinson 8/11/2017 10:12:00 PM Edit
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