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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: Marcus Smart 09.22.16 at 9:03 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.

MARCUS SMART

2015-16 season

61 games with Celtics: 27.3 minutes, 9.1 points, 34.8% FG, 3.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals

Smart found his role last season, establishing himself as a top defensive force on the Celtics with routine shutdown defense. When Avery Bradley went down in the postseason, Smart made a near-seamless transition into the role of a defense-oriented guard. Offensively, however, he was lacking, as noted by his abysmal sub-35 percent field goal percentage. He did show some potency at times, however, scoring 20-plus points on three occasions. Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 26, he missed 18 games with an injury to his lower left leg.

Projected role in 2016-17

Presumably, his role will be somewhat similar to last year, serving as a second option at the two after Avery Bradley. However, should his scoring continue to improve, he may find himself in a position to start more than just the 10 times he did last season. His defense will never be an issue, which makes him a reliable late- and close-game asset, but to get more minutes this season the scoring will need to improve.

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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 Preview: Terry Rozier 09.21.16 at 11:07 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.

TERRY ROZIER

2015-16 season

39 games with Celtics: 8.0 minutes, 1.8 points, 27.4% FG, 0.9 assists, 1.6 rebounds, 0.2 steals

There’s multiple ways to dress up the 16th overall pick’s rookie campaign, but in short, it was not good. Like the rest of the Celtics rookies last season, Rozier didn’t make much of an impact on the court, seeing largely limited minutes during his time in the NBA. He had a 14-game stint in the D-League, averaging a solid 19.4 points with 7.8 assists and 1.9 steals. He played 19.8 minutes each game in the postseason, shooting just shy of 40 percent from the field and averaging just 4.8 points.

Projected role in 2016-17

It’s fair to believe Rozier will be nothing more than a deep bench player who will occasionally make it into the rotation and earn meaningful minutes when he produces in opportunities granted early in the season. That’s important to note, because a downfall of the 22-year-old last season was his inability to perform when given the chance. Should that continue into this season, it may not take the point guard long to end up in purgatory.

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Celtics Player Preview: Jonas Jerebko 09.20.16 at 2:30 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.

JONAS JEREBKO

2015-16 season

78 games with Celtics: 15.1 minutes, 4.4 points, 41.3% FG, 0.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 0.3 steals

The Swedish power forward’s numbers are a tad misleading, especially when considering the solid postseason that he had, but Jerebko server as nothing more than depth on the bench and put up pedestrian numbers on the court during the regular season. However, when the 29-year-old was feeling it, he was absolutely a force. His minutes increased to 27.0 per game during the playoffs, and he averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his six appearances, four of which were starts.

Projected role in 2016-17

Don’t rule this out: Jerebko will be the Evan Turner replacement everyone is looking for. While he lacks positional versatility, his ability to knock down shots, play down low and grab rebounds could make him a valuable sixth-man option for Brad Stevens. While he certainly shouldn’t be starting on a nightly basis, there is enough that Jerebko brings to the table that could be oft-used off the bench. His postseason last year made a case for his playmaking ability, so don’t be surprised to see his minutes and numbers increase this season.

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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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