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Celtics rookie Jordan Walsh might make his NBA regular season debut on Sunday night against the Hawks.
Boston recalled Walsh from its G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, shortly after it was announced that Jrue Holiday will be questionable for Sunday and Kristaps Porzingis was already ruled out.
Walsh is a 6-foot-6 guard who drew some buzz in the summer league and NBA preseason. He earned a spot on the Celtics’ opening night roster, but was assigned to Maine on Oct. 31 after failing to crack the lineup for the first three games of the season.
The move to Maine was likely to aid in Walsh’s development, but now there may be an opening for him to get playing time in the big leagues.
If Holiday doesn’t play against Atlanta, the Celtics will have a thin lineup. Derrick White, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford will certainly make up four of the starting spots. The fifth will likely come down to Payton Pritchard or Sam Hauser, unless Joe Mazzulla elects the less likely option of a double-big lineup with Luke Kornet.
Whatever the case may be, Boston will only have seven members of its core rotation intact if Holiday can’t go, and eight if he can. Behind them, Boston’s depth gets hazy.
There are five other players in Boston’s lineup excluding Walsh: Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, Lamar Stevens, Oshae Brissett, and Neemias Queta. None of those five have played in more than eight games, and none average more than 2.5 points per game.
If nothing else, Sunday could be an opportunity to see what Walsh can do in the NBA, even if it’s a small sample size. The lengthy guard has gotten off to a hot start in the G League. In six games, Walsh is averaging 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Quite the upside early in his professional career.
The landscape of Walsh’s playing time will likely depend on whether Holiday is healthy enough to play. But, if he isn’t, Walsh may need to step up as the fourth guard for a shorthanded Boston team.
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