Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving cut his hair and immediately began filling up the box score in a big way, breaking an early-season slump. He also played a huge role in the team’s most recent comeback victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. With the Celtics slated for a high-profile game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Irving will reportedly not be available to play.
As Tom Westerholm of MassLive reported, Irving will be at his grandfather’s memorial and will miss the team’s game against Jazz. In turn, the expectation is that Terry Rozier, who’s been the subject of multiple rumors as of late, will get the starting nod. Just recently, Rozier was reportedly being targeted as a trade candidate by multiple teams.
This game against the Jazz also marks Gordon Hayward’s first game back in Utah since leaving for Boston in free agency. There are plenty of storylines to follow, and the fact that it’s a nationally televised game only adds to the fun.
Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup and roster for the Celtics Friday with Irving unavailable.
Celtics’ Projected Starting Lineup & Roster vs. Jazz
*Notates expected starter
C: Al Horford*, Aron Baynes,
PF: Jayson Tatum*, Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele
SF: Gordon Hayward*
SG: Jaylen Brown*
PG: Terry Rozier*, Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker
As you can see, the Celtics are a bit thin at small forward and shooting guard, although the bulk of their forwards can play both spots. Marcus Smart is also more than capable of playing a few positions, including shooting guard of course. Rozier will unquestionably be the primary ball-handler on Friday and will get an opportunity to produce a solid stat line while playing big minutes.
It’s also worth noting that Jaylen Brown took a bad fall and as The Athletic’s Jay King revealed, had a bag of ice on his side after being examined. There’s been nothing to point to him missing Friday’s game thus far, but his status will at least be worth monitoring.
As Basketball Monster shows, Marcus Morris, Brown, Hayward and Al Horford all see usage boosts when Irving is off the floor. They’re names to watch, while Jayson Tatum and Rozier will likely do a large amount of the heavy lifting offensively. On the season, Rozier is averaging just 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.5 minutes per game.