NBA Player #1: Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics
Rarely do we see a giant swing and transition like this to begin the offseason, let alone from a team as close as the Boston Celtics. Deciding to part with their core piece the last near-decade in Marcus Smart adding Kristaps Porzingis prior to extending his player-option and signing with Boston wins a top nominee given the shock.
The Celtics add another All-Star level talent in efforts to make life easier for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, helping end that desperate, championship drought.
Porzingis, coming off a career year with the Wizards at 27, averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks. He shot 49.8% from the field and 38.5% from three to go with a true shooting percentage over 60%. He showed a willing intensity on the defensive end with his elite shot-blocking abilities. That can transfer over to Boston, knowing their gritty priorities to guard and switching schemes.
Something else Porzingis dominantly opens up for the Celtics that Boston has not seen in a long time is a prominent post-presence. He adds a whole new dimension on all three levels. KP was fourth among big men in post-up points in Washington last season.
The huge transition allows Boston to make Derrick White the primary guard while embedding the needed roster balance that Porzingis brings. The Celtics can run KP with any combination of lineups as the lone five, or with either Robert Williams or Al Horford. Brad Stevens has even hinted at both.
The needed stability within the depth chart also gives Boston the opportunity to rest their core more in the two bigs, the Jays, or the other ball-handlers in White or Malcolm Brogdon. Porzingis serves as the missing piece to the Celtics’ 18th banner with the best help their dynamic duo has had at the forefront. The sky is the limit for the damage Boston could do and how potent their new look could be on both ends.