Apparently, they're not impressed with the Celtics' addition of Gordon Hayward in Washington.
Despite Hayward being added to the Celtics' lineup - and the Wizards loss to the C's in the Eastern Conference semifinals this past spring - our friends at CSNMidAtlantic.com rank Washington's starting five ahead of Boston's in their list of the best starting units, not including the Warriors and Cavs.
The Wizards return the same five who took the Celtics to seven games - John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. As for the Celtics, it seems the apparent uncertainty about just who'll make up their starters is what gave the Wizards the edge, putting them third on the list ahead of the Celtics at fourth. The Rockets are No. 1 and the Timberwolves No. 2.
More from Nick Ashooh's CSNMidAtlantic.com's story:
So do they go Thomas, Hayward, Crowder, newly acquired Marcus Morris, and Horford? Or do they add Rozier at shooting guard, and put Hayward at the 3 instead. What about rookie Jayson Tatum? He's already being compared to Celtics legend Paul Pierce. When does he crack the starting lineup?
With all the questions, there also means a learning curve when it comes to chemistry. Obviously, the talent is there in Boston, but it may take some time for Stevens to figure out exactly what five guys work best together to start games.
Bring on the playoff rematch...
BOSTON – The Celtics have had legit drama in their past two training camps, each involving a fight for 15 – as in the 15th roster spot.
Two years ago, it was Perry Jones III winding up on the outside looking in.
Last season, it was R.J. Hunter being edged out for the final roster spot by James Young.
Who will it be this year?
Because for the third season in a row, the Celtics are on the verge of heading into camp having at least one too many guaranteed contracts.
The agent for Shane Larkin told CSNNE.com that his client will be joining the Celtics for this upcoming season, which would bring Boston’s total number of guaranteed contracts to 16. That includes the announced signings Thursday of German forward Daniel Theis and the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and 16th selection overall, French big man Guerschon Yabusele.
Making their deals official gives the Celtics one more guaranteed contract than the NBA-maximum a team can take heading into the season. That figure does not include the recent addition of Kadeem Allen, who agreed to a two-way contract and does not count against the team’s total.
The past two training camps have produced some hotly contested battles, which has seemingly brought out the best in those competing for roster spots as well as the team’s more established players.
This camp should be more of the same, especially when you consider the talent assembled thus far has a foundation that has a high level of interchangeability.
Coach Brad Stevens, slowly but surely, is getting closer to having the kind of roster that can compete at the highest levels regardless of their opponent’s preferred style of play.
“We’ve become more versatile as the years have gone on,” Stevens said. “We entered the playoffs a couple years ago [against Cleveland], we only had a couple guys who could really swing that 3 [small forward] and 4 [power forward] spot. Being able to slowly add the right guys … you look at guys like Jaylen [Brown], you look at a guy like Jayson [Tatum], you look at Semi Ojeleye, those guys have the body to do it.”
Fortunately for the Celtics, they are not the only players on the roster with an element of versatility to their game.
Here’s a look at the team’s current roster broken down into the four primary positions – guards, wings, perimeter bigs and bigs.
WINGS (bigger point guards, shooting guards, small forwards)
BIGS (Power forwards and centers)
The Celtics dealt Avery Bradley in order to sign Gordon Hayward and stay under the salary cap, but is a return to the luxury tax inevitable?
C’s managing partner Steve Pagliuca told the Boston Herald that the team is willing to spend what it has to it means putting a championship-caliber product on the court. That means next summer could indeed see them enter luxury tax land.
“I don’t know if it’s inevitable, but if we feel it’s going to help us win a championship, then we will,” Pagliuca told the Herald. “We have a history of doing what we need to do to win.
“But you have to be careful -- if you sign people to bad contracts, it’s going to preclude you from signing other players. But I’m very happy with how it’s gone.”
The Celtics paid luxury taxes in its recent heyday of having star players Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
Boston already has two players on max deals in Hayward and Al Horford. Isaiah Thomas could become a third when his contract expires after the coming season.
The tax rates for non-repeaters, as the Celtics are given that they have not been in the luxury tax for three of the past four seasons, are as follows:
Team salary above tax level Tax rate
$1-$4.99 million $1.50
$5 million-$9.99 million $1.75
$10 million-$14.99 million $2.50
$15 million-$19.99 million $3.25
$20 million+ $3.75
(Tax rate increases 50 cents for each additional $5 million.)