So what can we expect from this healthy Celtics team as it's assembled for the 2018-19 season?
The rivalry is back, and the Celtics, who eliminated the Sixers in five games in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, host Philly in the nationally televised NBA opener Tuesday night. But before that game gets under way, the Warriors will receive their championship rings after winning their second straight title last season. The only question is whether Hayward, restricted to a 25-minute limit, will start or come off the bench.
The question is, how healthy are both of these guys? Fortunately, fans won't have to wait long to see how it all plays out, as the 2018-2019 National Basketball Association season has officially begun! Hayward, while close to fully recovered from his leg injury, has plenty of rust to shake off. "The depth, that's the most special part about this team".
By pairing McConnell, a pass-first point with a pesky defensive game with a certified dead-eyed sharpshooter like Redick, the second team will be able to maintain a fairly traditional lineup, with no player playing too far out of their typical position. That doesn't mean this team can't still earn the top seed in the East.
Fultz to start: Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, will be in the starting lineup for the Sixers after missing almost all of his rookie season.
Now he's back out there - and the deep Celtics roster goes about the task of putting down all comers - like the Sixers, who should be better if only due to what is reportedly better shooting by Markelle Fultz. But while it may have been a playoff rematch, don't go thinking that this is a rivalry. "Just thought about maybe not doing any back door plays this game". "I don't know our record against them". Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and Terry Rozier all provided solid minutes and production Tuesday night, building on last season's playoff success.
Key Additions: Robert Williams (rookie, Texas A&M).
Around the rim: Al Horford begins his 12th season and is as excited as ever.
"I think they're one of the most creative teams on offense, " said coach Brad Stevens. "I think we've got a chance to be good for a decade, I think we have a chance to be good for a long time, and that's what excites me the most". Boston's projected to win 58 games this season, and with that comes great expectations.
They are two young, talented teams with bright futures, and they figured to be playing important games for the next several years. The Celtics are set to open up the season against their division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers.