Brad Stevens will have some decisions to make at the end of the summer. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
If all things stay the same for the Celtics by the time training camp begins in late September, there’s going to be some trimming that will need to take place before the regular season tips off.
Here are a few things about roster sizes:
1. A team can carry 20 players on their training camp roster, and often times will sign players to training camp contracts bringing the size of that roster up to or near that number.
2. A team can carry a maximum of 15 players on their regular season roster.
So that creates something of a problem for the Celtics, who, after making the signings of five more players official Wednesday are carrying a roster of 18 players.
So barring a trade or another signing, who would be out and in for the Celtics once the season begins?
Here’s a breakdown of the Celtics roster as it stands currently:
Guards: Avery Bradley, John Holland, R.J. Hunter, Demetrius Jackson, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young.
Forwards: Ben Bentil, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey
Centers: Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller
There are plenty of players on this roster would be locks to make the 15-man cut. There are a group of players who could be left in limbo, however, including Bentil, Mickey, Young, Holland, Jackson and Hunter.
There are a few interesting cases here — namely Mickey, Young and Hunter.
Based on the way he tore up the D-League last season, it’s believable to think Mickey should be a lock to make the roster and the back end of Brad Stevens’ rotation, however in 16 appearances in the NBA last season, the 22-year-old was a mixed bag depending on how you look at it.
He shot an underwhelming 36.4 percent from the field and was 5-for-10 from the free throw line. If you look at his per-36 minutes numbers, he would be at 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per 36.
The problem for Mickey is there are players who can do what he does and do it better off the bench, such as Jerebko.
Then there’s the compelling case of Young. The most seasoned NBA vet on the Celtics summer league roster, he has far from turned out to be the player the Celtics took with the 17th pick in 2014. Granted, he will be just 21 come the start of the season, but being streaky and his inability to cash in on opportunities given to him the past few years leaves him in a precarious position.
His 2015-16 campaign was more forgettable than his rookie one, shooting 30.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from beyond the arc. What could keep Young on the roster is the fact the Celtics did not go out and add a totally pure shooter in the offseason with the exception of maybe Green. With optimism that Young knows how to shoot and could come around he could find himself on the roster, especially with a strong camp.
Hunter’s sophomore campaign is an interesting one, simply because if he improves upon what he did last year, he could be a valuable asset off the bench.
He shot a mere 36.7 percent from the field, but was 30.2 percent from three. If he can find a way to hit with more efficiency, he would not only crack the roster, but see meaningful minutes.
Conversely, he received said meaningful minutes in the Atlanta playoff series and was painful to watch at times.
Holland is another interesting case, playing in just one playoff game, missing a three-point attempt. The 27-year-old Boston University grad has spent time playing in Europe and could bring a quasi-veteran presence, but that’s about it. His numbers have declined steadily since he started playing in Europe, and he does not bring much fresh to the table that would necessarily warrant him a spot in the 15.
Bentil and Jackson are also between a rock and a hard place as late-second round picks, and given their immediate status, will likely start the season in Maine.
On paper, Hunter, Mickey and Young would make the cut with Holland potentially making a case for himself, or potentially starting the season in Maine but being the first man up once injuries start to hit.
This year’s camp will be an interesting one for that exact reason. So many of the players on the bubble are so volatile, that how they play September and October is pivotal for any chance of cracking the 15-man roster.