BOSTON — No matter the sport, there’s this insatiable appetite among fans for the newest members of a team to get on the floor and play.
Well, Celtics fans will get their wish tonight when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers with a roster that’s even more depleted (and green) than usual.
It has been common for the Celtics to be without one of their top four or five players for a game here and there.
But all of them?
Here’s the rundown:
As part of Kemba Walker’s load management between now and the playoffs, he’s unlikely to play in back-to-back games, so that rules him out for tonight.
Gordon Hayward suffered a right knee bruise in the second quarter of Boston’s 129-120 overtime loss to Brooklyn on Tuesday, so he’s out tonight as well.
Jaylen Brown, who was unavailable down the stretch against the Nets because of a hamstring injury, has been ruled out as well, while Jayson Tatum is officially probable after sitting out Tuesday night because of a cold.
Throw in the uncertainty of Marcus Smart’s availability after a heated exchange with the officials in Tuesday’s loss, and those who want to see the young Celtics on the floor … you got it now!
Players like Romeo Langford, who has thus far shown himself to be a better-than-expected defender, will likely see increased playing time and be called upon to look for his shot more often.
Carsen Edwards returns to an arena tonight in Cleveland where he dazzled in the preseason with a ridiculous eight made 3-pointers … in one quarter of play.
Tremont Waters, one of Boston’s two-way contract players, has been among the G-League’s top players and has looked more than NBA-ready in this brief stints with the Celtics.
He too should benefit from having an increased role tonight.
Rookie Javonte Green, coming off a career-high eight rebounds against the Nets, is arguably Boston’s most athletic player and a strong candidate to start tonight.
With the freedom to look to score more now that so many of the team’s usual scorers are out, don’t be surprised if we see Green have one of his best games as a pro scoring the ball.
But of all the new guys who will have an increased role of sorts tonight, the one to watch closely is Grant Williams.
He is one of the team’s best communicators defensively and will be looked upon to be that vocal presence on the floor to help ensure players are where they are supposed to be in order to make an impact on the game.
Second-year guard Brad Wanamaker will also be a key player in Boston’s rotation.
While he has played in all but one game this season for Boston, Wanamaker has been around long enough to know that even if a player or two is down, one can’t assume that means more playing time.
And the flip side of that is even when everyone is healthy to play, that doesn’t make playing time for reserves such as himself out of the question, either.
It all adds up to a game of uncertainty for the Celtics; unsure of who can be counted on to contribute.
“You just have to stay ready at all times,” Wanamaker told NBC Sports Boston. “You really never know when your number is going to be called. That’s the great thing about playing for Brad (Stevens). You don’t know when he’ll call on you, but you know he will, sooner or later. You just have to stay ready all the time, that’s all.”
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which begins Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.