BOSTON — It’s no secret that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ homegrown stars, are the faces of the organization.

It’s the guys around those two stars, and more specifically the outside additions who start alongside them, that seem to be making all the difference for Boston, however.

The C’s have been in contention throughout Tatum and Brown’s seven-season run together, making the Eastern Conference finals in all but two of those campaigns. They’ve yet to reach the mountain top, though, and in a season where their chances look as good as ever, the focus has been on their supporting cast.

“I think both the additions of Porzingis and Jrue Holiday were two great additions,” Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said prior to Friday’s matchup. “Porzingis’ length, shot blocking — he’s a tough matchup because he can step out shoot the three. He can roll with force. He can handle the ball, so just a tremendous addition.”

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“Jrue Holiday, to me, is one of the best two-way players in the NBA,” Malone continued. “… It’s a luxury to have a guy like (Holiday). He’ll go out and guard a guy like Joel Embiid, he’ll guard Nikola (Jokic.) … They’re elite offensively and defensively, so that’s the challenge.”

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Porzingis and Holiday were both acquired this offseason, serving as a clear example that Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has pushed his chips in the middle.

The start of Stevens’ tenure in the front office consisted of another, equally impactful, move that might just be the biggest piece to Boston’s championship hopes.

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“Derrick White’s having an all-star-caliber year,” Malone said, continuing his praise of Friday’s opponent. “It’s crazy, he’s averaging one block per game as a guard. They lead the league in blocks per game, so you give a lot of credit to Derrick. He just continues to find ways to get better and impact winning, and it’s been a great addition as well.”

It’s undoubtedly a “luxury” to have Holiday, Porzingis and White, two former All-Stars and a guy who should make the team this season, as the players who round out the starting lineup.

It’s far from luck that made that the case, though. Stevens’ ability to put together this roster, which very well might be the most talented in the NBA, could make the difference in whether or not the Celtics raise Banner 18 in 2024.

That’s the goal, after all.

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Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images