Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The revamped Celtics will be getting more national exposure this season, beginning on the opening night of the NBA campaign and including a game on Christmas Day.
The Celtics will take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland when the league tips off its season on Oct. 17. The 8 p.m. game — a rematch of the 2017 Eastern Conference finals — fronts a TNT doubleheader, followed by the Rockets and defending champion Warriors playing in Oakland, Calif., at 10:30.
Boston has the middle game of a five-game slate on Dec. 25, hosting rival Washington at 5:30 p.m. on ABC. The Celtics and Wizards staged a seven-game battle in the Eastern semifinals last season.
As we wait for the full NBA schedule to drop, we’re getting a taste of where the Celtics are viewed by the NBA…
They’re taking on Cleveland in the opening game of the season and they get the first really good slot on Christmas day… plus they’re in the London game on January 11. So clearly the league sees the Celtics as a premier team to be featured heavily. I wouldn’t be surprised if the C’s are among the top national TV games as the season moves forward.
There are some bad teams on the list like Philly, New York, and the Lakers. New York will always rate just because it’s New York. The Lakers are similar and at least they’ve got the Lonzo Ball factor.
Philly is a tough team to gauge. If they’re fully healthy, they could win a bunch of games. They’re probably still not a playoff team but a Rookie of the Year campaign from Fultz or Simmons plus a healthy Embiid could snag 30-something wins.
We’ll see about all that. In the meantime, we’ll wait for the full schedule to be released so we can all make our Larry Bird “yup, 41 home, 41 away” jokes.
Related links: CSNNE: Celtics open at Cleveland Oct. 17, play at home vs. Wizards on Christmas Day | Celtics heading to London for regular-season game vs. Sixers | Celtics.com: C’s Set for Primetime on Opening Night, Xmas | MassLive: Boston Celtics to play Cavaliers on Opening Night, host Wizards on Christmas | Boston Sports Journal: Celtics will face Cavs on opening night, host Wizards on Christmas | ProJo: Celtics to host Christmas Day game for first time in 53 years | Celtics will open season vs. Cavs, host Wizards on Christmas Day
Page 2: Exploring Jaylen as the starting 2
The “Jaylen” lineup
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Brown has the athleticism to defend smaller guards: If there was one major takeaway from Brown’s play in summer league last month, it was his defensive assignments in those contests. The 6-foot-7 wing spent nearly every game guarding opposing point guards and shooting guards, likely in preparation for a steady diet of those matchups upon the arrival of the regular season. Brown was a mixed bag defensively last year, but he has the tools from an athleticism standpoint to hold his own against a number of top backcourts around the league. With Brown now having a year of experience under his belt, Stevens could turn to him some nights to take some pressure off Isaiah Thomas by defending opposing point guards. That’s something he wouldn’t necessarily be able to do with Hayward at the 2.
Brian Robb is nicely carrying the offseason on Boston Sports Journal by suggesting possible lineups. He talked about “going big” in Part 1 and now we’re looking at how a Jaylen at the 2 lineup would look.
I’ll disagree with Brian on one thing: I don’t think Baynes starts at the 5. I think a Jaylen lineup would include Crowder at the 4 and Horford at the 5.
This would give the Celtics maximum switching versatility between Jaylen, Hayward, and Crowder while keeping the floor spread for Thomas to drive. Everyone in this five can hit from deep and you can send Horford to pick for any of these guys and probably get a positive result (though obviously Jaylen as the pick and roll ballhandler needs work).
I can see this as the starting lineup. I think the Celtics can throw Isaiah, Jaylen, Hayward, Crowder, and Horford out there against most teams and start off well. Then the Celtics can bring Smart in after 6-7 minutes for Isaiah and then stagger Thomas/Hayward for most of the remaining minutes. Isaiah can start 2nd quarters and help a problem area from last year.
Baynes can start at center for certain games (Washington and Cleveland stand out off the top of my head) but I think he’s mostly going to have a reserve role.
We’ll start to see how it will actually work out soon enough. Camps will open in a little more than a month.
The NBA rookie class…
Yes, those are the Celtics jerseys with the GE logo. Learn to love it folks… these will be the good ol’ days of NBA uniforms before you know it.
The rest of the links: