Celtics: Projecting Brad Stevens’ Starting Five and Rotation

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Oct 14, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young (30) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Power Forward: Amir Johnson

Every team needs somebody to do the dirty work, and that is exactly what the Celtics brought Amir Johnson in to do. Adding Johnson to the mix immediately improves the Celtics in three major areas: defense, rebounding and toughness.

Johnson is not a great rim defender, but he is a strong and physical presence in the post. He will defend players who are taller than him, and have success by simply out-muscling them. Nobody is going to push Johnson around.

The Celtics struggled to rebound the basketball with any sort of consistency last season. Johnson is a strong rebounder on both ends of the court, using his strength and physical nature to his advantage. Johnson is also an extremely aware rebounder, always seeming to put himself in a strong position to clean up misses.

More than anything, Johnson brings a physical edge to the Celtics that they were lacking last season. Smart and Bradley were physical defensively on the outside, but the Celtics were soft in the post. Johnson will simply not allow that to happen this season.

Offensively, his game is relatively limited. Johnson has never scored more than 10.4 points per game in a season, and I do not expect that to change much with the Celtics.

He can hit a jumper, does a great job of cleaning up misses and can work in the post a bit, but Johnson is not going to be any sort of offensive center-piece for the Celtics. In fact, his best offensive skill is undoubtedly his ability to set screens. Looking like an All-Pro offensive tackle protecting his quarterback, Johnson does an incredible job of getting his shooters free in the screen game.

The ultimate garbage man, Johnson is an extremely important player for the Celtics this season.

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