The Boston Celtics are without almost the entireity of their core Wednesday night in their third preseason game against the Orlando Magic.
Both Jaylen Brown and Al Horford are in the NBA’s health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19, and Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Dennis Schröder all got the night off, leaving the Celtics pretty thin in regards to rotation players.
There’s no better opportunity to see what they have in terms of end-of-the-bench and fringe roster players, as Boston soon must narrow down its roster to 15.
“Guys will get an opportunity tonight, especially with sitting Josh, Dennis and some of the veterans,” coach Ime Udoka said Wednesday ahead of the preseason game. “So, you know, we needed the bodies with Al and Jaylen going down in general, practice and game-wise. We make keep guys a little bit longer because of that, but we also have a surplus of guys that can come off the bench. And the young guys, as I mentioned before, really get an opportunity. So we want to see them in extended minutes, but we also have that second and third team ready to go.”
The Boston Celtics signed Sam Hauser to a two-way contract, but still have one of those deals to give as well as a roster spot or two that Jabari Parker, Ryan Arcidiacono, Bruno Fernando, Garrison Mathews, Juwan Morgan and Theo Pinson are fighting to fill.
Udoka said Wednesday that they’ll look at the final preseason game against the Miami Heat as a dress rehearsal of sorts, though Brown and Horford won’t be eligible to play by then.