The Boston Celtics appear to finally be settled into a starting five, but Stephen A. Smith believes there’s a tweak that should be made.
With exception to brief changes due to minor injuries, the Celtics’ most consistent lineup this season has been Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris Sr. and Al Horford. However, this group came about after quite a bit of mixing and matching from head coach Brad Stevens, who’s been tasked this season with trying to make the most of an incredibly deep roster.
It remains to be seen if the aforementioned starting five will be Boston’s standard lineup come playoff time, but if Smith was calling the shots, Smart would go back to being the sixth man.
“My attitude is Marcus Smart should be coming off the bench again,” Smith said Monday on “The Stephen A. Smith Show.” “Put Jaylen Brown back in that starting lineup and let Jaylen Brown — with Jayson Tatum, Al Horford Kyrie Irving and those boys — do their thing. That’s my opinion.”
Brown started all 70 games he appeared in during the 2017-18 regular season, as well as 15 of the 18 playoff games he played in over the course of the Celtics’ run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Brown, by and large, has seemed more comfortable as a starter this season, but his high energy and strong two-way playing style makes him a valuable asset off the bench. As for Smart, his grittiness helps the Celtics set the tone from the get-go on a nightly basis.
So regardless of which role Brown and Smart are serving, the C’s will need both players to perform at a high level if they hope to reach the NBA Finals.