Boston Celtics fans have lamented the team’s lack of star power since the Big Three left town.
Well, they can lament no longer.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge finally set off the fireworks this summer, landing All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to form a new “Big Three” along with big man Al Horford.
So, just how good can Hayward, Irving and Horford be?
Sports Illustrated apparently thinks very highly of all three. In its list of the NBA’s top 100 players, Horford ranks 30th, while Irving comes in at No. 21 and Hayward tops the trio at No. 16.
To be sure, the Celtics’ “Big Three” isn’t nearly on the same level as the Golden State Warriors’ lethal trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. One also could argue the Cleveland Cavaliers’ new combination of LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas (40th on SI’s list) and Kevin Love has the C’s beat.
But three of the NBA’s top 30 players (on paper) in your starting lineup is nothing to sneeze at, especially when Irving, one of the most dynamic scorers in the league, isn’t necessarily Boston’s top player.
“Hayward might not be Boston?s leading scorer next season, but the range of what he brings to the table makes him the Celtics? best player,” writes SI’s Rob Mahoney. “It’s not just offense; Hayward has a proven track record guarding both wing positions at a high level and is strong enough to dabble at power forward if the situation calls for it. The scope of his offerings opens the door to all kinds of creative solutions.”
The Celtics still don’t boast an uber-talented superstar, as no one on their roster falls in SI’s top 15. That said, head coach Brad Stevens’ bunch has a solid corps of All-Stars that could make some serious noise in 2017-18.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images