There is still plenty of time until the 2021 Celtics season. However, after the recent roster moves, we are resetting the depth chart. We’ve already examined the point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Now, it’s time to look at the power forward position.
Starter: Jayson Tatum
Backup No. 1: Al Horford
Backup No. 2: Jabari Parker
The power forward position provides the Celtics with a lot of leeway. If head coach Ime Udoka & Co. want to go big, they could play Al Horford. If they want to play a little faster, Jayson Tatum will be the guy. The latter is more likely, at least, to start the season.
Tatum is hands down a star. He can score with the best of them, and he’s only 23 years old. Playing him at the four is not always the best because he’s only 6-foot-8 and can be picked on in the post if the opposing team goes big. However, Tatum as the power forward stretches the floor a ton for the Celtics.
Horford is more of your stereotypical power forward, who can body on the inside and grab rebounds. He also offers you a deep ball shooting wrinkle that not all fours have. He was best from beyond the arc while in Boston from 2016-19, but has dropped off since then.
Most of his stats have dipped since his Celtics days, partly because of bad situations and partly because of age. Don’t expect Horford to come back and be the same guy that he was. He’s a step slower and didn’t play for the last two months of the season.
Horford’s best quality he will add to this team is his wisdom and veteran presence. There were times last season that the Celtics’ youth and inexperience were evident. Horford will make up for that and hopefully lead them through those difficulties.
You don’t need to worry about Jabari Parker too much. He won’t be seeing the floor a lot. He is one of the guys that comes in at the end of a blowout and that’s about it. If Parker does make it into a game during normal time, he may be a liability because he will be in a contract year. So, he might try to play the hero and show that he can still play in the league. Other than that, though, don’t put too much thought into Parker.
Flexibility is the key word for the Celtics at power forward. They have options between Tatum and Horford to play whatever style they want. The position may seem light with only two true options, but those two are easily talented enough to fill all the PF minutes.