Celtics’ opening night starting lineup vs. Knicks, revealed

The Boston Celtics revamped their entire roster this offseason, so it makes sense that the starting lineup will be different heading into the 2023-24 NBA season.

Center Al Horford, who’s started every regular season game he’s played in over the last three years, will come off the bench for Boston’s season opener, per ESPN writer Tim Bontemps. The C’s begin their new quest for Banner No. 18 on the road against the New York Knicks—a fiesty playoff team that’s bested Boston in three straight contests.


In place of Horford, the Celtics will likely opt for newly acquired center Kristaps Porziņģis. Alongside him will be fellow stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Jrue Holiday. Lastly, guard Derrick White, who excelled in Boston last year, should round out the starting five.


But, heading into his 17th year in the league, how will Horford adjust to coming off the bench?


What Al Horford’s role could look like
Lineups will probably vary with Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, but starting is no longer a certainty for the 37-year-old Horford. The veteran big man has never come off the bench for more than six games in a single season, so any time as a sixth man could be a major change for him. Even in college with the Florida Gators, Horford started in 100 of his 109 games played.


Simply put, Horford has never been familiar with the bench over the course of his lengthy basketball career. However, Boston is currently loaded with starting five talent, meaning someone had to take the hit and ride the pine.

Last season, Horford rested on the second days of back-to-backs and averaged 30.8 minutes per game, the fewest in his NBA journey since 2009. If he continues to not start, he’ll likely see a minute drop and enter the 25 to 30 minutes per outing range.


That shouldn’t deter the five-time All-Star, though. Horford has no problem reworking his game, as he developed a three-point shot later in his career and is somewhat of a 3-and-D guy for Boston. Regardless of minutes, he’ll still pose a threat from deep and defend the opposing team’s elite bigs.

After all his time in the league, he should be able to adapt just fine to joining the bench.



Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Joe Mazzulla

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