2. They have superior depth
It’s a fact that NBA rotations shorten come playoff time. That doesn’t mean depth is no longer an important factor in the postseason. Having potential game-changers to bring in off the bench will be a huge plus for the Celtics.
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Marcus Smart is one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league. His offensive shortcomings make it difficult to deploy him as a starter, but he has the defensive chops to lock up an opposing superstar in the playoffs. In a perfect world, the Celtics can play him for about 20 high-leverage minutes per game in an effort to cool off an opposing superstar.
In a completely different way, Enes Kanter also has a skill-set that can greatly alter a playoff series. His defensive shortcomings are a major issue, but his ability to score in the post can be a nightmare for opposing teams. Against the right teams, Kanter can be an offensive force that gives Boston a massive advantage in battles between second units.
Stevens isn’t going to play 10 or 11 guys in the playoffs on a regular basis, but he’s got some weapons off the bench as his sixth, seventh and eighth men. Used correctly, the Celtics can turn their advantage on the bench into an extra win or two in the postseason.