Projected Boston Celtics starting lineup for the 2023-24 season

Projected Boston Celtics starting lineup for the 2023-24 season

For the first time since the Boston Celtics trotted out Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, and Jordan Crawford as starters, the C’s first five will be without Marcus Smart during the 2023-24 season after No. 36’s nine-year tenure in Beantown ended with the trade that brought back Kristaps Porzingis.

Without Smart, the point guard position, as head coach Joe Mazzulla revealed, will be manned by Derrick White.

“Derrick (White) will be our starting point guard and he will be one of our starting guards,” Mazzulla told the media on July 26 (h/t The Athletic’s Jared Weiss).

According to NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin, White will be joined by Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, and Al Horford in the starting five.

“White, Brown, Tatum, Porzingis, and Horford start, then it is Brogdon and Williams the first two off the bench,” Helin prefaced before saying, “After that some combination of Payton Pritchard, Luke Kornet, Sam Hauser and Oshae Brissett likely get minutes.”

Horford started all 63 games he appeared in during the 2022-23 season and all 69 games he appeared in during the 2021-22 season when Ime Udoka deployed the Dominican big man and Robert Williams III in the same lineup.

It makes sense for Mazzulla to continue plugging in the pivot whenever the 37-year-old is healthy enough to play. And as Weiss noted for The Athletic, Horford’s pick-and-pop action should continue to work with that being one of White’s most effective offensive setups — and with Porzingis now in tow, it could be even more devastating.

“White’s main pick-and-roll actions last year were basic pick-and-pops on the elbows or staggered screens in the middle of the floor,” Weiss wrote. “The former has him take a few dribbles to the side to draw over two defenders, then quickly flip it back to the screener to shoot it. This worked well with Horford, but can fully unlock Boston’s offensive potential with Kristaps Porziņģis.”

Expect Williams to get looks at the 5 whenever Horford sits for maintenance purposes. Brissett may be the beneficiary of extra starts whenever Brown or Tatum do the same.

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