Pregame Post-Ups: Youth Set to Take Reins in Wednesday's Game

Wednesday, Oct. 13 - Celtics at Magic

Pregame – Youth Set to Take Reins in Wednesday's Game

The Celtics’ coaching staff predetermined that Wednesday night’s preseason game in Orlando would be a rest day for their core players. Therefore, the door will be wide-open at Amway Center for Boston’s second- and third-string guys to step through and prove their worth.

Ime Udoka will roll with a youthful starting five of Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, Grant Williams, and Rob Williams, the only regular starter of the group. Meanwhile, the third-stringers will be bumped up to the second unit, and the remainder of the team, along with the training camp invites, should see time with the third unit.

“This is going to be a different situation that they're in, obviously, not playing with the starters,” Udoka said before the 7 p.m. tip-off. “We were looking at the first two or so games balancing them playing with some of the starting guys in different rotations. But this is almost very similar to a summer league roster, with three of those guys (Pritchard, Langford, and Nesmith) out there playing. So they'll have a different role and different responsibility and more on their plate tonight as far as minutes and their roles. but I just want to see improvement and growth in general.”

So far in Training Camp, that entire starting group has shown growth. Pritchard has displayed his improvements as a playmaker. Langford has shown better shooting confidence, like when he knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer in Boston's first preseason matchup against Orlando. Nesmith is playing with more hustle than ever. Grant Williams has slimmed down and is more agile. And Rob Williams has bulked up and is more powerful.

“They've all picked it up well,” Udoka said of their progress. “Obviously, Romeo was in the starting lineup last time with Jaylen (Brown) being out, and Aaron's played with some of the starters. But overall, getting responsibility to see how Payton runs the point and having Grant in there as well. Some of our young guys, we just want to see how they grow overall.”

Udoka also provided an update on the statuses of Brown and Al Horford, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. The coach said that Brown, who tested positive prior to Saturday’s game, should “definitely be back” in time for next Wednesday’s regular-season opener, while Horford, who tested positive just before the team’s trip to Orlando, is a possibility for the opener, but “timeline-wise, it’s going to be very close.”

- Taylor Snow

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