Limited play for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum? - the starting unit?

The Jay-Team

Where are these two guys, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, alias The Jay-Team, going to fit into the Celtics system, this season and down the road? Here is what Celts President, Danny Ainge, had to say on the subject (via Boston Globe's Gary Washburn):

I think Terry [Rozier] and Marcus [Smart] are really ready to step up,” Ainge said. “And Jayson and Jaylen we can be a little bit more patient with, but they are going to play an important role.

First of all, we should look at the potential starting lineup for the Celts opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I know Marcus Smart's role is still up in the air, but I see him starting in the backcourt beside Kyrie Irving. A good balance of size, offense, defense and distribution. Being leaner won't hurt Marcus' defense against the bigs and will be a major plus against the smaller guys.

Al Horford at center to begin the season works. Gordon Hayward at small forward should be a given. Marcus Morris at power forward, particularly defending Lebron James, is near-perfect. In the video below focus on Smart's dishing skills and why he should be on everyone's All-Floor-Burn Team.

With Marcus Morris' trial underway in Phoenix, his availability, even for training camp, is uncertain. Two of many possible outcomes would potentially make him available for most of the camp and opening day against Cleveland. Either a not guilty/no suspension or a hung jury/mistrial/no immediate suspension could work. So for now, I put Morris in that PF slot. If he is not available, Gordon Hayward goes into the PF slot and Jaylen Brown gets the SF nod. Putting a rookie, Semi Ojeleye, with the vets in the starting unit may not be a bad experiment.

Well, now you visualize where I see Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. On the second unit. Jaylen and Jayson look like they will be a talented duo in the near future. Aron Baynes at center makes sense. Even at 30 years old, he can still improve, and I believe he will. Terry is an energy guy that can score and defend. He plays straight out.

Who are we missing? Oh, we need a ball handler (not Terry's cup of tea yet). Danny picked up Shane Larkin for a reason. He supplies what Rozier can't, ball handling and distribution. He, like Terry, can be exciting to watch. This guy gave up millions of dollars overseas to try out for the Celtics. He can definitely help us. Take a look at the video below for Larkin highlights:

What can we expect from Brown this season. It starts with his numbers from the 2016-17 season which show 17.2 minutes, 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.4 steals. His numbers for this season could look like 26.0 minutes, 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals. This was a mostly-numbers projection, with a very slight add for experience but nothing for a possible break-out season.

I recently picked up Jaylen in my first fantasy basketball draft as my 13th and final player. Pretty low rating which I hope he disproves in the upcoming season. I always compare Jaylen to the late Reggie Lewis. In his rookie year with the Celts, Reggie averaged only 8.3 minutes/game. Obviously, his stats were consistent with his paltry playing time (4.5 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.5 APG). I, like many fans, was frustrated by Coach K.C. Jones' lack of trust in the youngster. When Reggie got into the game on rare occasions, he thrived.

That changed the next year with Coach Jimmy Rogers coming in. Playing 32.8 minutes/game, Lewis had 18.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.5 SPG. Quite a difference for a second-year man. If Jaylen proves himself, we may see more minutes and higher production from him later in the season. His defense will get him increased playing time, and the offense should improve significantly.

We don't know what to expect from the rookie Tatum. Danny did indicate Rookie of the Year was probably not in the cards for Jayson, and that sounds about right (via Boston Globe's Gary Washburn):

“We’ll see what minutes [Tatum] will earn. I’m not worried about how they will play when the lights go on. It will be unlikely that Jayson is Rookie of the Year because it will probably come from a team that starts their rookies and plays them 35 minutes per night.”

Tatum's minutes will probably be similar to Brown's rookie number, around 16-18. There is a lot of excitement surrounding this kid, and we all would love to see that excitement justified by his play. He has size, talent and a nice attitude. It would be great to see Paul Pierce hanging around and mentoring this young man.

Which brings up the question? Is there an open position for Paul Pierce in the Celts organization? Damn, I hope so. And what do our readers think about the starting five for opening day and towards the end of the season and playoffs?

Photo via Jim Michaud/Boston Herald
Both videos via 1677091 Productions