As the Celtics try to take down the Warriors in the NBA Finals, they’ll rely on a mix of longtime Celtics and relative newcomers.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford are household names, but there are many other players on the roster.
Here’s one thing to know about each member of the 2022 Celtics.
Tatum has averaged 5.9 assists per game in the playoffs, including a nine-assist effort in Boston’s Game 5 win over the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. He’s taken his passing to another level in recent months and has facilitated well for the most part when he’s double-teamed.
Coach Ime Udoka has consistently preached the importance of making quick decisions and moving the ball, and Tatum’s ability to do so is often a barometer for how the Celtics fare. He turned it over seven times in their Game 6 loss, compared to two in their Game 7 win. For the series, that number was at 3.25 in wins and 6.67 in losses.
The Bay Area is a “home away from home” for Brown, who attended the University of California for a year.
“Blessed to be playing in the #NBAFinals in front of family and friends #GoBears,” Brown tweeted Tuesday.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Smart the “guard version of Draymond [Green].”
He said the defensive player of the year is quick enough to chase point guards around and big enough to guard anyone in the modern game. No one can stop Stephen Curry, but Smart has as good a chance as anyone to slow him down.
“He’s appropriately named,” Kerr said. “He’s a very smart player, really versatile, and a great, great defender.”
This is the first NBA Finals appearance for the 15-year NBA veteran. Horford had previously played in the most playoff games (141) in league history without making a Finals — a list he’s thrilled to no longer lead. He also increased his salary guarantee for next season by $5 million because the Celtics made the Finals.
Williams didn’t look like himself in Game 7 against the Heat because of a lingering knee injury and is benefitting from the extra rest before the NBA Finals. Udoka said Williams “felt good” but isn’t completely in the clear.
“Getting looked at [Tuesday], will continue to get his treatment and his rehab in order to get swelling down and some of the mobility back,” Udoka said. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing. He’s day-to-day throughout the playoffs.”
White has big-time new dad energy as he and his wife, Hannah, welcomed Hendrix James White into the world May 19.
Hendrix is also the name of Robert Williams’s child, and it wasn’t coordinated.
Williams has scored in double figures in each of the Celtics’ close-out games this postseason. Against Brooklyn, he finished with 14 points and 3 blocks. He erupted for 27, tying Curry and Marcus Morris Sr. for most 3s in a Game 7 with seven. Williams then added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in Game 7 against the Heat on Sunday. He averaged 7.8 points per game during the regular season.
Pritchard was much better on the road (7.6 points, 2.4 assists, 42.4 percent from 3-point range) than at home (4.8 points, 1.5 assists, 39.4 percent from 3) during the regular season.
Theis is the third German to make the Finals, joining Detlef Schrempf and Dirk Nowitzki.
His brother, Eddie, attended Harvard University.
He’s not quite Tacko Fall’s height, but Kornet is 7 feet, 2 inches, making him the tallest player on either roster.
He scored a combined 100 points over a two-game span in the G League earlier this season.
Hauser has a higher career 3-point percentage (43.2) than Curry (42.8). Curry has made more.
He led Southwestern Community College to a national championship before starring at Division 2 Truman State.
He’s become known for his celebrations on the bench, often getting creative with unique dance moves and gestures as his teammates excel on the court.
He has one career postseason point.
He’s not related to the NFL’s Matt Ryan, but he did make his Celtics debut on 3-28.