Last week was busy around the NBA, as the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Damian Lillard and sent Jrue Holiday to Portland. The Boston Celtics then wasted no time jumping in on the action by acquiring Holiday, the All-Star guard and lockdown defender, in a massive deal that sent Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon, and two first-round picks back to the Trail Blazers.
What will the Celtics starting lineup look like in 2023-24? Find the Celtics projected starting lineup below along with analysis as to how this will impact their 2023-24 title odds.
Celtics Projected Starting Lineup With Jrue Holiday
- Derrick White
- Jrue Holiday
- Jaylen Brown
- Jayson Tatum
- Kristaps Porizingis
Now that Jrue Holiday will be joining Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, and Jayson Tatum to form a “Big Four,” let’s look at what starting lineup we can expect from Boston this season.
Al Horford is entering his age-37 season for the 2023-24 campaign, so expect Boston to bring him off the bench. Even though Horford has consistently contributed to this team on both ends of the floor, it makes sense to utilize him in more of a bench role for several reasons.
First, the C’s will want to avoid playing him too many minutes, as injuries can creep up at the end of older players’ careers. They simply cannot afford that due to the second reason, which is that the absence of Robert Williams has left a void in their frontcourt depth.
If Jayson Tatum plays more at the four, then Boston can get away with not digging too deep into its bench. Luke Kronet, Oshae Brissett, and Neemias Queta are not players that Boston is likely to feel comfortable with playing a substantial amount of minutes, so it is safe to think that Horford will still have a considerable role off the bench, as the C’s rotate their three best frontcourt players throughout games.
The last reason we can expect a “Derrick White-Jrue Holiday-Jaylen Brown-Jayson Tatum-Kristaps Porzingis” starting lineup is simple: talent. This C’s team will want to deploy their most talented lineup, and that lineup will undoubtedly be it. Boston will have everything it needs with that lineup, including perimeter defense, switchability, rebounding, rim protection, shooting, and playmaking.
Jrue Holiday Trade Details
Boston made sure to “leave no stone unturned” with the Jrue Holiday trade so that it did not get “boxed out” by another contender desperate to get him, as he could potentially be a playoff-altering piece.
The Celtics moved Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, a 2024 first-rounder (via Golden State), and a 2029 unprotected first-rounder (via Boston) to bring Jrue Holiday to Boston. Brogdon was likely to be moved before the start of the 2023-24 regular season, as he had seemingly had a falling out with the Celtics organization.
Further, with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis earlier in the summer, Boston’s need for Robert Williams was dwindling; he would likely have come off the bench behind Porzingis and Al Horford, and his recent injury history over the past few seasons is somewhat concerning.
While Boston has loved having that lineup flexibility in the past few seasons (i.e., starting Williams alongside Horford against bigger lineups but starting Horford and Jayson Tatum in the frontcourt against smaller teams), the C’s ultimately knew that Porzingis’ arrival meant that Williams’ days were probably limited.
Boston has entered its “win-now” window and should be in it for the foreseeable future, so its 2029 first-round pick could be in the 20s unless Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum is moved at some point. It is challenging to predict the future, but this trade looks promising for Boston.
Boston Celtics Title Odds
If the Boston Celtics’ title odds didn’t appear attractive before, take another look. After making a monumentally massive move to acquire Jrue Holiday, a proven championship-caliber guard, the Boston Celtics championship odds leaped from roughly +575 at the beginning of the summer to somewhere between +350 and +450 now, depending on the sportsbook.
Boston’s championship odds would likely be even tighter had the Milwaukee Bucks not acquired Damian Lillard in the first Jrue Holiday trade (to Portland.) However, Boston still has the firepower, experience, defense, and shooting to be the best team in the NBA. The absence of Holiday and Jevon Carter will hurt the Bucks’ perimeter defense, while injuries could continue to plague that team as many of their key players are getting older (Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton.) Boston is a solid team to bet on right now.