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No. 10: Jaylen Brown, SF
The Celtics have kept a tight leash on the No. 3 overall pick, as he’s averaging 13.7 minutes per game, 25th overall among rookies. The early returns have been promising, however, as Jaylen Brown is holding his own when you compare his numbers to other 2016 lottery picks.
“There’s ups and downs,” Brown said last week. “You gotta stay consistent and things like that. And just being on a good team like this and playing…it’s even tougher. So I just gotta try to get better every day and be as consistent as possible.”
No. 9: Terry Rozier, PG/SG
Like Tyler Zeller, Terry Rozier has slid further down the depth chart as the season has progressed. He’s played in just six of 11 games since Christmas Day, as the Celtics have opted for more size in the backcourt with Marcus Smart and Gerald Green. Despite the switch, Rozier has shown plenty of promise with his defensive energy and athleticism in limited minutes.
“When we decided to go with Smart as the backup one to post,” Stevens said, “it was more of a decision on Smart than it was on Rozier. He’s done a really good job. When guys have been available or unavailable, you feel comfortable putting him in.”
No. 8: Jonas Jerebko, PF
Jonas Jerebko has been the most consistent big man in Stevens’ bench rotation for the first half of the season, and a lot of that is due to his shot discipline. The 6’10” Swede takes only 8.1 field-goal attempts per 36 minutes, the lowest mark on the team outside of James Young. Jerebko’s picky selection has paid off, though, as he’s putting together another above-average season from three-point range (37.8 percent).
No. 7: Kelly Olynyk, PF/C
Kelly Olynyk experienced a disappointing start to the regular season as he attempted to find his groove following offseason shoulder surgery. The 7-footer posted career lows in points per game, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage during the first two months of the year. However, he’s turned the corner in the last few weeks, shooting 56.1 percent from the field in January while the Celtics have won six of seven.
“I think he’s gotten into a good rhythm,” Al Horford said of Olynyk’s improved play. “I don’t know if people realize, but he had offseason surgery, and even though he’s playing and everything, a lot of the time you don’t feel quite like yourself right away.”
No. 6: Amir Johnson, PF/C
Amir Johnson has strengthened his hold on the starting center spot despite a decline in minutes. The 6’8″ big man is averaging just 20.4 minutes per game—his lowest total in seven years—but the 10-year veteran continues to play his best basketball on the defensive end and has been a stabilizing presence for what’s been a disappointing defensive season for Boston. The Celtics improve their defensive rating by 1.3 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court.