Celtics Mailbag: Could Luke Kornet play a bigger role for the Celtics this season?

The Boston Celtics tip off coaching camp in 11 days. Their first preseason sport is simply 16 days away. The common season ideas in 32 days.

Yup, we’re a little greater than a month away from significant basketball video games once more. Let’s fill what’s possible the final quiet week of this abbreviated offseason by tackling your lingering questions in this week’s Celtics Mailbag.

How will we really feel about large man depth? I personally really feel this is likely to be this squad’s Achilles heel. — @ErosStudios

And we’ll mix that with…

Who can be the shock in enjoying bigger minutes to restrict put on and tear for Al Horford, Robert Williams III, and the Jays? Need them tremendous recent for playoffs … however nonetheless get into prime 4 in East. — @SBussberg

Consternation with Boston’s big-man depth is comprehensible. Horford is 36 and you’ll suppose the group would take into account pacing him. Robert Williams III’s damage historical past is nicely documented and the group will not need to run him into the floor after he rushed again from a meniscus tear to assist Boston’s playoff run final season.

Last yr, the Williams III-Horford duo mixed to log 3,809 regular-season minutes, or roughly 48.4 p.c of all accessible minutes at the 4/5 positions. That’s 4,000 minutes to fill if that duo stays as wholesome as they did final yr.

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So how precisely will the Celtics fill these minutes this season with a depth chart that is thinner on skilled large males? Boston will definitely go small and lean into their surplus of guard depth. But there’s additionally a lot of confidence in the group’s entrance workplace that Luke Kornet and Mfiondu Kabengele can fill depth minutes.

Some will scoff contemplating Kornet has performed solely 339 minutes over two stints with the group the previous two years. But Kornet is the greatest physique on the group at 7-foot-2, 250 kilos and he is a succesful physique on each ends of the ground.

Kabengele used a sturdy summer season to land a two-way slot. A great camp might put the former first-round decide in consideration for a full-time gig (though lots of Boston’s camp our bodies have greater than 4 years of expertise so there isn’t any apparent option to shuffle into that two-way slot). You may need seen some summer season hype movies with Kabengele flattening a bunch of threes, however the Celtics can be content material if he embraced a Clint Capela mannequin and simply used his measurement and athleticism to be a keen rim runner and rebounder.

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Grant Williams can definitely fill minutes in the “large” role, particularly as a corner-office dwelling energy ahead, however solely three p.c of his complete minutes final season got here at the heart spot (and his effectivity plummeted in that small pattern, per Cleaning the Glass positional information). Williams did log 35 p.c of his minutes as a heart as a rookie (and had a shiny +7.0 web ranking in these minutes, per CTG) however the group would most likely choose to have measurement alongside him. That being stated, Williams can confidently defend bigger our bodies and use his power to carry his personal if defending the 5 place.

Maybe a camp invitee like Noah Vonleh muscle mass into the dialog, too. Boston will give the present in-house expertise each alternative to win these accessible depth minutes after which gauge the want for upgrades additional down the highway.

Who’s getting the last spot for camp — grizzled vet, undrafted rook, or worldwide recruit? — @philmillershart

Boston’s camp roster is ready. Brodric Thomas, a two-way participant final yr, is the just one not but formally inked to his Exhibit 10. Teams are likely to churn camp invitees with the purpose of funneling desired expertise to the G-League however, for the second, the Celtics appear content material with the assortment of former first-round picks that can comprise the finish of the camp roster.

Now, if the query is who emerges with one among three at the moment open roster spots, my early guesses can be Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, and the Celtics preserve the fifteenth slot open for most flexibility (and tax financial savings). Layman was a regular reserve in Portland and Minnesota. He suits Boston’s schemes and does sufficient to masks his perimeter capturing woes. Jackson has by no means fairly tapped into his potential however acquired a name for a 10-day when the group was skinny on our bodies final yr after which had a strong summer season league.

Losing Galo with no substitute may cost us a championship. — @umpirejimmy1

For a group that desperately might have used some veteran depth items in the NBA Finals three months in the past, it is unimaginable to say that Danilo Gallinari’s absence is inconsequential. But the continued improvement of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will dictate the group’s championship hopes a entire lot greater than the availability of a 34-year-old ninth man.

With 4 back-to-backs in the first couple of months, does coach Ime Udoka give the Jays video games off to save lots of them for the spring and hopefully summer season? — @jluck_89

Horford will virtually definitely get strategic relaxation. Maybe the Celtics tread rigorously at the guard place given damage histories and the depth they’ve. But for Brown and Tatum, I feel it is extra possible that we simply see Udoka merely attempt to preserve their minutes decrease. Tatum is a gamer who desires to be on the court docket each evening. Brown has battled some accidents, most notably his hamstrings, however he’ll be keen to claim himself at each alternative.

Who are the 5 that can begin, and the 3 or 4 to be in the rotation? — @hendy73

I do not see any motive to mess with what works. Boston’s starters had been a wrecking ball final season. I feel you see the identical Tatum, Brown, Williams III, Horford, and Marcus Smart combo to start out the yr. Malcolm Brogdon will play loads of minutes and possibly shuffle as much as a beginning role, particularly if Horford will get relaxation. Brogdon, Derrick White, and Grant Williams ought to see the heaviest minutes off the bench. Kornet might play greater than, say, Payton Pritchard relying on how Ime Udoka deploys expertise. Pritchard deserves time; he would possibly simply must be affected person given the guard depth.

Which non-playoff group from final yr has the finest alternative to be our first-round matchup? — @T_MacDonnell

Assuming the Celtics are a prime seed then I doubt it might be Cleveland, who ought to be in the combine in the prime half of the East. Maybe the Hornets? But overlook the non-playoff groups. You would possibly draw one among the returnees early. And when you need to imagine that nothing may be fairly as daunting as the Brooklyn-Milwaukee-Miami gauntlet the Celtics drew final season, this yr might be equally powerful. The East is overflowing with expertise. A complete bunch of excellent groups might be in the play-in spherical and clawing their manner into the 1-8 or 2-7 matchups.

Would you wish to see Rob try a few jumpers per sport? What enhancements as a group do you hope to see for the upcoming season or wish to see? — @yella_ghost

Do you understand how many photographs Time Lord took outdoors of 14 ft final season? Seven. I do not count on him to abruptly morph into LaMarcus Aldridge however I would not thoughts if he extra continuously took benefit of groups that give him house. Reporters have seen him persistently hit midrange photographs in observe. It seems like every Boston heart finally extends their vary to the 3-point line. Now, we would like Williams III close to the rim as a lot as potential however he should not be bashful along with his mid-range sport.

When is Celtics Media Day? And the place will we be capable to watch it? — @GreenRuns4Ever

Media Day is Monday, September 26. We’ll have particulars quickly on how one can stream the festivities stay on NBCSportsBoston.com. And simply go forward and set your DVRs for NBC Sports Boston that evening for much more takeaways from Media Day.

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