The Boston Celtics teams of decades past (maybe except the mid-90’s) always revolved around superstars. From Larry Bird and Kevin McHale to Antoine Walker, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, it’s the franchise’s way of securing winning campaigns and championships.
However, the past few years hasn’t been that way. You can’t fault GM Danny Ainge for not trying, but superstars are hard to come by. That turned out to be a positive in fantasy basketball since Brad Stevens was forced to go with guys up and down the roster. Under Stevens, we saw how Jae Crowder, Evan Turner (gone), and Avery Bradley become solid fantasy options. Isaiah Thomas, for one, has become a must-draft in the late second to early third round.
This year, the Celtics got much-needed help from someone who has been a fixture on Eastern Conference All-Star teams. Al Horford chose to join the young Celtics and it’s intriguing how his addition affects the values of those around him.
So without further ado, let’s look at Horford and his possible fantasy impact on the team.
On the limelight
Experts believe Horford’s value may go done by as much as a half to a full round this season. That is because Celtics employ a balanced and deep rotation that rely mostly on its glut of guards. It may eat away on Horford’s volume which isn’t that heavy in the first place. However, the Celtics didn’t hand the Dominican big man 28 million a year to stand around and set screens. Stevens is too good of a coach not to incorporate Horford’s atypical production from the center spot in his offense (3.2 assists and 1.1 threes a fame and 80% from the line). So while there is some sense to the projections about Horford trending down a little bit, the opposite could be just as true. If Horford’s production remains in line with his career averages, he is still one of the best centers in fantasy basketball.
Bust or Break Out?
Just as intriguing as the rest of the Celtics roster is Marcus Smart. Smart is one of the worst shooters at his position in the league (worst in FG% for players that attempted 1000 shots in a game and second-worst among players that attempted at least 500 threes last year); however, he is also a top-notch, in-your-face defender averaging 1.5 steals a game. So will he break out or be a bust next season, especially when teammate Terry Rozier snapping at his heels?
We’ll give Smart the benefit of the doubt here although he may be nothing more than a late-round flier in standard leagues. Smart scored 10 points and added three assists, three rebounds, and two steals in pre-season action against Philadelphia on Tuesday. It’s a solid line but as you may have guessed, he did not make any of his three point attempts. He still finished 5-of-10 overall, which could be an indication of improvement from his atrocious 34.8% shooting clip from last year.
Photo via: celticslife.com