Rozier the only Celtic in first half of SI's Top 100 list

NBC Sports Boston Report
NBC Sports Boston

Sports Illustrated has released the first half of their yearly Top 100 players list, a list which aims to project who the top players of the upcoming season will be. The Celtics only have one representative between No. 51 and No. 100, with Terry Rozier landing at No. 82 on the list. 

This is a fair spot for Rozier, a solid player who will be returning to his role as a quality backup with Kyrie Irving's imminent return. He won't be one of the central pieces of the starting offense like he was in the playoffs, but he'll lead what should be a strong second unit with consistent play on both ends of the floor. As the season goes on, Brad Stevens will rely on him more and more; last year taught us that health is the most important factor for a chance at the NBA Finals. 

But what's most telling is who is absent from the list. We can anticipate the rest of the Celtics' starting lineup falling in the second half of the top 100, ranging from 50-1, with Kyrie Irving likely being the highest representative. Where Gordon Hayward falls will be an interesting look into how analysts outside of Boston project him to fare in his comeback season. Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will probably fall in the same range as important pieces and good players in their own rights, but not quite top-ten. 

But one important member of the Celtics is nowhere to be seen on SI's list: Marcus Smart, the recipient of a four-year extension over the offseason. He's the biggest -- and perhaps only -- Celtics snub from the list, though SI did mention Smart on its Top 25 Snubs from the list this year. Smart missed a good chunk of 2018 with injuries, and combined with his reputation as one of the worst three-point shooters in the league, Smart will always have a hard time making lists like these, despite his stellar defense. 

Snubs like this have been the story of Smart's career in Boston, however. His impact on the floor is not easily measured with statistics and box scores. He's the king of intangibles, the guy who does whatever little thing the team needs to get the win. It may not be supported by conventional means, but Smart is a crucial part of this Celtics team. It will be up to Smart to stay healthy and prove he deserves recognition on lists like these.

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