The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie released his rankings of the best young cores in the NBA. The Boston Celtics have a great core of young players, so great in fact that Vecenie ranks Boston’s young core second in the entire NBA. The only team that was ranked higher than the Celtics was the New Orleans Pelicans. Right behind the Celtics at third are the Memphis Grizzlies.
Sam Vecenie had high praise when it came to Boston’s young pair of wings. He previously had this core ranked lower, but put them at #2 due to the jump that both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum had made throughout the season.
“Brown went from a solid starter into a guy that I think will make multiple All-Star teams over the course of his career,” Vecenie said. “And then Tatum made the jump into not just being a star, but potentially the kind of guy that could be the best player on a title team at some point. The presence of Tatum being a tier above some of the other young stars in the league pushed them to No. 2.”
Vecenie went on to talk about the other group of young players on the Celtics roster, including Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford, Tremont Waters, and Robert Williams.
“Behind them, the rookie class struggled a bit outside of Grant Williams. Edwards and Langford were not particularly good, and while Waters had a great G League season, his limited NBA time didn’t stand out. Robert Williams showed real flashes, but dealt with injuries.”
As far as ranking this young core goes, Vecenie listed Boston’s young bunch as:
1) Jayson Tatum; 2) Jaylen Brown; 3) Grant Williams; 4) Robert Williams; 5) Romeo Langford; 6) Semi Ojeleye; 7) Carsen Edwards; 8) Tremont Waters; 9) Tacko Fall.
Vecenie is correct when he says that outside of Grant Williams, the rest of Boston’s rookies struggled during the season. Tremont Waters tore it up in the G League, considering he won the G League Rookie of the Year and ranked third in MVP voting, but he didn’t do too much in Boston when he was on the roster.
Edwards, who Boston hoped would be a player who could come in and light it up from three, only shot 31% from behind the arc while averaging only three points a game. The 22-year-old still has plenty of room to grow, but this season wasn’t too encouraging.
Romeo Langford was injured a good amount of the season, so he couldn’t find consistent minutes in the rotation. He showed flashes of being a reliable scorer off the bench and could even hold his own on the defensive end, but he needs to stay healthy.
The same can be said about Robert Williams. When he’s healthy, he can be everything the Celtics need from a big man, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Only time will tell what the future holds for the Time Lord, but we can’t get a solid idea of what he can become unless he can avoid being injured for most of the season.
I don’t really have to get into Jaylen and Jayson because we all know what they bring to the table. They are one of the best, if not the best, young duo in the NBA. When both of those guys are on the court and playing at their best, it’s nearly impossible to stop them. They are the reason why Boston is in the position they are now, and the Celtics will be considered to be a top-tier team in the league for years to come because of them.
As far as rankings go, I agree with Vecenie’s ranking of the Celtics young core. It’s hard to put any team ahead of the Pelicans with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Jaxson Hayes.
Only time will tell what this group will do for Boston as far as winning championships goes, but they’re in a great position to make a lot of noise right now. The future certainly is bright in Boston.
Photo: Maddie Meyer | Credit: Getty Images