BOSTON – For most of Marcus Smart’s time as a Boston Celtic, he has come off the bench while still playing starter-like minutes.
That will once again be the plan for Boston in their preseason opener tonight against the Charlotte Hornets.
Smart will come off the bench while the Celtics will go with a starting five that consists of their Big Three – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford – joined by Aron Baynes and Jaylen Brown.
Having Baynes with the first unit makes a lot of sense tonight against a Hornets team that has Dwight Howard at center.
While Howard is a 13-year veteran, he still can significantly impact the game which is evident by him averaging a double-double scoring and rebounding the ball in every season he has been in the league. His 12.7 rebounds last season (his career average rebounding) ranked fifth in the NBA despite him playing a career-low 29.7 minutes per game.
Stevens said the decision to go with Brown over Smart had to do with the team’s extremely young bench which has some much-needed veteran leadership with Smart who is the most-tenured Celtic on the roster after a major overhaul to the roster which returns just one starters (Horford) from last season’s team which won more games (53) than any other team in the East.
During his pre-game press conference, Stevens indicated that by no means was this lineup set in stone, leaving the door wide open for Smart or another one of the team’s backups to play their way into a starting job this season.