The Boston Celtics have three All-Star caliber players in Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown.
All three of them scored 20 or more points per game last season, making Boston the only team in the NBA with that kind of scoring depth. These guys will be expected to carry most of the load offensively during the 2020-21 season, too, especially after the offseason departure of Gordon Hayward.
But the C's will need other players to step up, too. You can't win the Larry O'Brien Trophy without a good group of role players.
The Celtics have a couple young players who could play a meaningful role this coming season, and this was among the topics on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast with Chris Forsberg and Max Lederman.
One player discussed is Grant Williams, who's coming off a solid rookie season. Williams' defense, rebounding and basketball IQ helped him carve out a consistent role off the bench, and he even earned minutes during the playoffs. Could Williams find himself in a starting lineup for the C's in his sophomore season? Lederman is comfortable with that idea.
"I am, honestly, because -- it's just a matter of what're you looking for? You're just looking for someone who's not bad. All Grant needs to do is go out there and not be bad and just hold things steady. He's definitely not bad -- he's a good player," Lederman said.
"He does a lot of the little things that don't show up in the box score. He's a great screen setter. ... He's going to make things better for the rest of the team, and I think his shot really came around. It's crucial for him to be able to hit from the perimeter and be that threat. We saw last year he didn't have a good time scoring inside versus length, which is what he did in college because he could just bully through people. We'll see what he comes back with. He's a great kid, he's a really smart guy, he's a really hard worker. I'm sure he'll come back better than he was last year."
Another player to keep an eye on in 2020-21 is Carsen Edwards. He was a second-round pick of the Celtics in the 2019 draft but didn't see too much action in Boston as a rookie. He primarily played for the Maine Red Claws in the G-League.
Edwards is a good offensive player, and with the C's in need of shooting, he might get more of an opportunity than he did in Year 1.
Lederman is not confident Edwards can be an impact player this season.
"No, I'm not, to put it bluntly. But I hope he surprises me," Lederman said. "When they drafted him, everyone was like, 'Oh he could play a Lou Williams-type role.' But Lou Williams took seven years to become Lou Williams. Is he going to be the starting point guard for the Sixers, is he going to be this or that? He developed over time into the microwave scorer off the bench that he is now. Carsen Edwards has spent his whole life being the alpha dog, at least his last couple years in college -- he was a stud. He was on SportsCenter with highlights in the NCAA Tournament carrying teams. To expect a young player like that to come in and be seamlessly thrown into a bench role -- I don't think the Celtics really expected it and I don't think anyone really should. I hope he can adjust to that, but that's a really tough transition, especially last year when he's playing in the G-League and not playing the role he would play in Boston."
One of Edwards' best talents is his outside shooting. In college and in the G-League he has shown an impressive stroke from the perimeter. But it's hard to get consistent playing time in the NBA if you're not bringing several skills to the floor.
"He's got to find ways to impact the game if he's not hitting his shots," Lederman said. "If scoring is his only thing and he's only getting three or four shots per game, you better hit two or three of them. I'm not super confident in (Edwards being an impact player), but I hope I'm pleasantly surprised."
Also in this episode: Chris and Max debate which player, other than Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, will prove to be the most important to the Celtics' success this coming season. And they also give their takeaways from the Celtics' first half schedule release.