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Celtics Player Preview: Tyler Zeller 09.24.16 at 10:07 am ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

TYLER ZELLER

2015-16 season 

60 games with Celtics: 11.8 minutes, 6.1 points, 47.6% FG, 3.0 rebounds

Zeller saw his minutes cut in half last season but made the best of his situation by stepping up in moments when the Celtics needed him. After losing his starting job to Amir Johnson, Zeller saw his role further diminished as Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger shared minutes at the center spot. But Zeller did have a few memorable performances. In a 124-109 win over the Bucks in early April — a game with playoff implications — Zeller had his best game of the season, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-15 shots and four blocks. It proved to Stevens that he always has a backup plan in Zeller — a player who can score in double figures on any given night.

Projected role in 2016-17

Behind Al Horford, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, there aren’t a whole lot of minutes for Zeller this season. However, when opportunities are present Zeller will provide instant offense. There’s a reason the Celtics signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal this past summer. He may be an insurance policy for Johnson and Olynyk (who is expected to miss the start of the regular season after having surgery on his right shoulder) but that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of taking on big minutes. There just aren’t enough minutes for Zeller. His offense is inferior to Olynyk’s and Johnson is a much better defender — thus making Zeller the Celtics’ third-string center this season.

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Celtics Player Preview: Abdel Nader 09.23.16 at 12:01 pm ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

ABDEL NADER

2015-16 season

35 games with Iowa State: 12.9 points, 48.7% FG, 5.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals

After transferring from Northern Illinois to Iowa State before his junior year, Nader became a starter his senior year and doubled his scoring average — earning All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades. He also shot 37.1 percent from deep for the Cyclones. 

Projected role in 2016-17

Nader isn’t going to have an opportunity to help the Celtics this season. He’ll spend the regular season developing with the Red Claws. Offensively, the C’s would love for him to flourish into a 3-point shooter with high-level defensive capabilities.

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Celtics Player Preview: James Young 09.22.16 at 3:24 pm ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

JAMES YOUNG

2015-16 season

23 games with D-League’s Maine Red Claws: 28.3 minutes, 15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals

After a decent rookie season in the D-League, Young had a rough sophomore campaign — one that had Celtics fans questioning his future in the NBA. In 29 games with the Celtics, he managed to only score 29 points, grab 68 rebounds and dish out nine assists. Young still has a ways to go in reaching his full potential as the 21-year-old heads toward his third year in the league. But after seeing rookies like R.J. Hunter and Terry Rozier earn more playing time than Young last season — especially in the postseason — it raises the question: Is there space for Young on the 2016-17 Celtics?

Projected role in 2016-17

Young’s scoring will make or break his chances of making the team this year. If he can hit 3-pointers at a high level throughout the preseason, he will have a spot on the back end of the 15-man roster. The Celtics are always looking to improve on their outside shooting. Young has shown glimpses of stellar 3-point shooting, but he’s going to have to piece it together and soon.

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Celtics Player Preview: Al Horford 09.21.16 at 8:58 pm ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

AL HORFORD

2015-16 season 

82 games with Hawks: 32.1 minutes, 15.2 points, 50.5% FG, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks

Horford was selected to his fourth All-Star team and continues to be one of the league’s most productive big men. After finishing the 2014-15 season atop of the Eastern Conference with a 60-22 record, the Hawks had somewhat of a disappointing season last year, but Horford was one of their bright spots. For the past two years, his production in points, rebounding and assists are identical and he has improved his average in blocks from 1.3 to 1.5.

Projected role in 2016-17

Horford will be one of the most important players in the front court for the Celtics. He gives the C’s another 15-plus-point scorer and the fact that shoots at a 50 percent clip from the field gives the Celtics a very consistent scorer. Alongside Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, Horford strengthens the defense down low and he’ll be able to slide back to the power forward position instead of playing center, where he can be much more effective in defending undersized forwards. His mid-range shot — that can extend out to the 3-point arc — will spread the floor on offense, forcing opposing teams to run out to defend him and making room for guys like Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to take the ball to the rim.

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Celtics Player Profile: Jordan Mickey 09.20.16 at 10:25 am ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

JORDAN MICKEY

2015-16 season 

23 games with D-League’s Maine Red Claws: 33.4 minutes, 17.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.4 blocks

Mickey was a double-double machine in the D-League and finished the season as the league leader in blocked shots. In his 16 appearances with the Celtics — mostly at the end of lopsided games — he finished with a total of 21 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks. Mickey was expected to have a big summer with the Celtics, but he was forced to sit out the Utah league due to a left shoulder injury. He rejoined the C’s in Las Vegas, where he averaged 9.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1 block in five games. 

Projected role in 2016-17

For a team that’s in dire need of a secondary rim protector, the Celtics have high hopes of molding Mickey into that role. But he still has plenty of growing to do on both ends of the floor before he’s given an increased role. Mickey will be a third-stringer this season but certainly is making the most of his opportunities.

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Celtics Player Profile: Jaylen Brown 09.19.16 at 10:00 am ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

JAYLEN BROWN

2015-16 season

34 games with University of California: 27.6 minutes, 14.6 points, 43.1% FG, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals

The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2015-16, Brown uses a combination of strength and athletic ability to score. He utilizes his strength to absorb contact near the hoop and has a quick first step that creates space for his jump shot. His speed also comes in handy on the opposite end of the floor, where he’s able keep up with defensive assignments and can guard three positions. 

Projected role in 2016-17

Brown has the athleticism and quickness to become a good NBA defender. As Jae Crowder’s understudy, his primary role will be on defense. He’s not going to score a lot of points and will use his rookie season to become a better offensive player.

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Celtics Player Preview: Gerald Green 09.18.16 at 2:17 pm ET
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With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

2015-16 season

69 games with Heat: 22.6 minutes, 8.9 points, 39% FG, 2.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists

Last season Green wasn’t able fill the the kind of role he had prior to joining the Heat and ultimately found himself buried behind Joe Johnson, Luol Deng and rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson on the Heat’s depth chart by the end of the regular season. For two seasons Green was a viable sixth man for the Suns, but his shooting percentages took a dip in Miami and the Heat eventually let him walk over the summer.

Projected role in 2016-17

The Celtics are hoping Green can rekindle the scoring touch he had with the Suns, and it would be a much-needed spark off the Celtics bench. If he’s able to be the 44.5 percent 3-point shooter he was a couple of years ago, he’ll have no problem cracking Brad Stevens’ rotation. If not, he’ll be a third-string forward who will only see the floor when the Celtics are in a dire situation.

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