Strong Message: Former three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas sends strong message to Boston Celtics after Blockbuster Jrue Holiday trade

During the October 2 edition of the “Gil’s Arena” podcast, former three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas discussed what he believes the ideal Boston Celtics starting lineup for the 2023-24 season would be, indicating that deploying Al Horford in a double-big first five is the best arrangement, with Derrick White taking over Malcolm Brogdon’s sixth man role.

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“That’s your 5,” Arenas remarked of a lineup that included Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Horford, and Kristaps Porzingis (h/t Basketball Network). “You start doing this small sh**, and now you’re smaller at the guard play, and you’re smaller at the four play, and then you come in, and you can sub in Unicorn and put old a** Horford in.” What the f**k is the difference between this year and last?”

With the backup point guard situation somewhat unstable behind the 33-year-old Holiday, the proposal obviously has validity. Horford started all 63 games he played in during the regular season and all 20 games of the team’s journey to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season, so keeping him in the lineup for the third year in a row isn’t out of the question.
The Boston Celtics will face depth issues whether Derrick White or Al Horford start.
If Horford starts, the Boston Celtics will have to rely on Luke Kornet for extended minutes at the 5, minutes that Horford would have handled in a reserve position. If you replace Horford with White in the starting lineup, you’ll be reliant on Payton Pritchard, Dalano Banton, and others.

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As a backup 1, consider Dalano Banton, JD Davison, or even Tatum.
For Joe Mazzulla, all roads lead to uncertainty, but that has been a characteristic of his coaching career. Mazzulla, who came in as an emergency fill-in for an eventually dismissed Ime Udoka ahead of the C’s 2022 training camp and earned his keep in Boston, is not experiencing the uncomfortable experience of not knowing what the future holds.

The fact that we’re debating whose top-tier Jays complement between White and Horford pales in contrast to taking over a contender on short notice after a controversy removed a conference-winning coach.

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