The Boston Celtics will have a different look to them during the 2019-20 season, but a solid core from last year’s team still remains.
Sports Illustrated recognized that in Part One of its “SI 2020 NBA 100” rankings. The magazine ranks the NBA’s top 100 players prior to each season, stirring up plenty of league-wide debates. Rob Mahoney heads the charge by himself this year as his former partner-in-crime, Ben Golliver, left the company for The Washington Post.
Mahoney and SI released No. 100 through 51 on Monday and included three members of the Celtics.
Marcus Smart makes his debut in SI’s Top 100 at No. 82 following his impressive 2018-19 campaign. Mahoney notes that Smart improved in multiple areas of his offensive game, not just beyond the arc. But the 25-year-old’s defensive ability should be enough alone to get him into the top 100, in our opinion.
Jaylen Brown’s upside was the main focus of Mahoney’s analysis, but the Celtics wing landed at No. 68. The Georgia native averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds on 46.5 percent shooting in 74 games last season.
Despite a roller-coaster year, Gordon Hayward still finds himself at No. 59 on SI’s rankings. Similar to many Celtics fans, Mahoney is placing stock in Hayward being another year removed from his brutal season-ending injury. Add on his first healthy offseason in two years, and we think the high 50’s is an accurate landing spot for the Hayward. This year certainly will be telling as to how the remainder of his Boston tenure plays out.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images