BOSTON -- Between now and the playoffs, we’re going to hear a lot about what the Boston Celtics are lacking.
And while they are certainly not as deep a team courtesy of injuries, it’s not like the roster has now become this barren wasteland of woeful talent
In fact, Boston’s revamped core group, one without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis who all suffered season-ending injuries, and Marcus Smart whose right thumb injury will keep him out for most of the first-round series, is full of players who came into the league with high expectations due to their lofty draft status.
Boston’s current starting five consists of three players taken with the No. 3 pick in their respective draft class -- Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
And point guard Terry Rozier was selected with the 16th overall pick, with regulars Marcus Morris and Shane Larkin also being taken in the first round of their respective draft classes.
That’s in part why tonight’s game against Washington is actually an important one for both teams, well aware that there’s a chance they can see each other in the first round of the playoffs, which for the Celtics will begin at the TD Garden next weekend.
“We’re pretty confident,” Rozier told NBC Sports Boston. That’s why these last games are so important. With us being number one in the league in defense, we can get as far as we want to go. We have to tighten up a couple things on offense and stay together. We already hit adversity at its highest level. We already seen so many things. We’re prepared.”
And to know that the bandwagon is getting lighter as they near the playoffs, it only serves as additional motivation.
“No doubt about it,” Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “I feel like with this group . . . we’re already fueled, but that gets us going even more.”
But as you look at Boston’s roster, it’s pretty clear that there’s some decent talent.
"Obviously, we have a lot of star power that’s missing just because of the unfortunate circumstances of injuries,” Larkin told NBC Sports Boston. “But we got a lot of guys who can play here. We have a lot of high draft picks, a lot of first round picks. Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] did a great job of putting together a roster for situations like this. You never want to have situations happen with the injuries, but we have a lot of guys in here who can step up and play. That’s what we’ve had to do all season, and we’re going to keep doing it until the wheels fall off.”