3 potential Boston Celtics starting lineups post-Jrue Holiday trade

Another huge trade has been finalized and Jrue Holiday is now officially playing in the iconic Boston Celtics green next season; a move that boosted the team’s title odds in its immediate aftermath.

With Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams being used as trade pieces, how might the starting 5 look next season?

And is one of these lineups capable of securing the highly sought-after Banner 18?

Details of the Jrue Holiday trade

The Boston Celtics lost some more fan-favorite names to acquire what will hopefully be the missing pieces to a championship-winning puzzle, but who did they give up and what did they get in return?

Celtics receive: Jrue Holiday

Portland Trail Blazers receive: Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, a 2024 first-round pick (GSW), and an unprotected first-round pick (BOS).

After already losing Marcus Smart in a trade to bring in the seven-foot-three Latvian, Kristaps Porzingis, Boston fans have been a mixture of heartbroken and excited for the potential of the new arrival. This situation looks to be very similar to Williams being a piece in this trade. Although he didn’t get consistent playing time due to injury, Williams certainly held a place in the hearts of Celtics fans; mine included.

And like the Porzingis acquisition, we are all feeling a “healthy” blend of heartbreak and excitement.
Securing the services of All-Star and All-Defensive guard, Jrue Holiday, came at the cost of a two-for-one deal, resulting in an alteration to the Celtics’ lineup options for the upcoming season. Here are a few ways that the starting five could look for the 2023-24 season.



Potential Boston Celtics starting lineup No. 1

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Derrick White

SF: Jaylen Brown

PF: Jayson Tatum

C: Kristaps Porzingis

This first potential lineup looks immensely solid defensively as it boasts an All-Defensive backcourt, the star duo of Brown and Tatum, as well as the first summer acquisition, Porzingis.

The range of offensive and defensive prowess in this starting five is astronomical, especially when looking at the stats from the 2022-23 season:

  • Jrue Holiday: 19.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 7.4 APG, and 1.2 SPG
  • Derrick White: 12.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 0.7 SPG
  • Jaylen Brown: 26.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.1 SPG
  • Jayson Tatum: 30.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG
  • Kristaps Porzingis: 23.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 1.5 BPG

That’s an insanely high combined average of 111.6 PPG last season, slightly less than most teams averaged as a whole.

Another notable aspect of this lineup is the flexibility of our two All-Defensive guards, who will be capable of seamlessly switching between the point guard and shooting guard positions based on the matchups they encounter. That kind of versatility can be crucial with the variety of backcourts other teams boast in the league. While Holiday and White are typically positioned as point guards, they have both shown their capability to play at the shooting guard spot – a testament to their adaptability and defensive prowess.

I can’t help but feel optimistic when looking at this starting five and, without letting my bias show too much, I can’t think of a stronger starting five in the league – can you?

Potential Boston Celtics starting lineup No. 2

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Jaylen Brown

SF: Jayson Tatum

PF: Al Horford

C: Kristaps Porzingis

Transitioning from one formidable lineup to the next, we find ourselves making only slight adjustments to the starting five due to the duo of Tatum and Brown being locked in starters. The only changes made in this suggested lineup are Brown taking the shooting guard position from White, while Horford steps into the power forward role causing Tatum to shift to small forward.

It’s worth noting that Horford and Porzingis both possess the versatility to run the power forward and center comfortably and, much like the guard spots in the last suggested lineup, the two are interchangeable at those positions. Having both big men play at the same time will make it exceptionally challenging for opposing teams to score in the paint.

Some have criticized the absence of Williams on the Celtics’ roster, asking questions along the lines of –  Who is going to guard dominant big men like Giannis and Embiid next season? Al Horford, that’s who.

Potential Boston Celtics starting lineup No. 3

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Derrick White

SF: Jaylen Brown

PF: Jayson Tatum

C: Al Horford

As I already hinted, Horford has been irreplaceable for the Celtics since his return from his short spells at the 76ers and the OKC Thunder, combined with Porzingis’s injury struggles the last couple of seasons, this could result in Horford getting starting minutes without Porzingis.

With the injury struggles of Williams last season, seeing him play only 35 games, Horford had to step in at center to fill the vacancy. During that time, Horford was invaluable, providing crucial support in the center position.

  • Al Horford 2022-23 regular season stats: 9.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.0 BPG
  • Al Horford 2023 Playoff stats: 6.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 1.7 BPG

While Horford’s individual statistics may not appear “invaluable” on the surface, his true value transcended the numbers. What made his contribution truly remarkable was the way in which he linked up with his Boston Celtics co-stars. Horford’s on-court presence and basketball IQ significantly impacted the team’s chemistry, resulting in him being one of the reasons Boston won 57 regular season games as well as reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

All three potential lineups give reasons to be excited for the 2023-24 season, whether it be because of the interchangeable All-Defensive backcourt, a position-alternating and paint-defending frontcourt duo, or just the fact that Tatum and Brown boast incredibly strong starting co-stars. Whatever your reason may be, each of these potential starting lineups brings plenty of positives as the Cs strive for Banner 18 next season.

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