With Robert Williams III out for eight-to-12 weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery, the Boston Celtics have from now until opening night to determine who will be his temporary replacement until he returns to the court.
Given their guard depth, the team may look to see how Malcolm Brogdon or Derrick White would do with the starters. Or, the team could turn to familiarity in their frontcourt by starting fourth-year forward Grant Williams. It appears the Celtics have an idea for who their Timelord replacement will be, and it’s none of those three.
On the first day of training camp, Chris Forsberg shared a video of the four other Celtics starters from last season – Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford – doing reps with none other than Luke Kornet.
While nothing is set in stone, Kornet is the only other traditional center on the roster besides Horford and Robert Williams. Given how well the double-bigs starting lineup played last season, the Celtics may very well want to keep that going with Kornet in until Williams returns.
The Celtics made a similar move last season when Jaylen Brown sprained his ankle last March. Instead of vaulting White or Payton Pritchard up to the starting lineup, the team started Aaron Nesmith, who hadn’t played much throughout the season, as Brown’s temporary replacement. They did this because White and Pritchard were thriving in the second unit, which they didn’t want to mess with.
There’s no telling if Kornet will be ready for a larger role with the Celtics, but it’s apparent that they believe he’ll be up for it.
Kornet Endorses Nickname
When the Celtics originally acquired Kornet from the Chicago Bulls in 2021, Kornet had two commonly used nicknames: “Murder Kornet” and “The Green Kornet.”
Until Media Day, Kornet had not been asked which nickname he endorsed. When Mark D’Amico asked which nickname prefers, Kornet gave his answer, though D’Amico pointed out that he seemed indecisive.
“I’ll do ‘Green Kornet’ because it definitely makes the most sense with the Celtics,” Kornet said. “It’s a better nickname. It’s a fun, creative nickname.”
Kornet is now entering his third straight year playing for the Celtics in some capacity. Although this is going to be his first year starting the season out with the Celtics. He is also expected to have a bigger role than he’s had in his previous two go-rounds with the team.
Kornet Reacts to Brad Stevens’ Only Liked Tweet
Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens has been on Twitter since July 2009. In that time, he has only liked one tweet, which is a video of Kornet doing a crossover and going for the reverse dunk in a pickup basketball game earlier this summer.
During Media Day, Kornet was asked about his highlight reel play.
“I believe this is what the kids refer to as ‘getting in your bag,'” Kornet said. “That doesn’t happen a ton during NBA games for me, but open gyms are different.”
Kornet later talked about which players fans get reminded of when plays like those happen on the basketball court.
“People ask player comps all the time. They’re like, ‘Oh, is it Matt Bonner?’ and I’m like, ‘No, it’s Allen Iverson.'”