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Brad Stevens giving youngsters minutes - development or trade-showcasing?

Rob Williams & Payton Pritchard may be emerging




Rob Williams per-36-minutes stats remain impressive

Brad Stevens has been displaying some un-Brad-like behavior in this season's first three games. Four of his young guys have averaged 15-or-more minutes this far. The question is, does this significant floor time indicate Stevens is devoted to developing his fledgling troops, or are they being showcased for an impending trade.

Celtics fans need to think this way with Danny Ainge at the helm. Rookie Payton Pritchard leads the foursome in minutes at 20.3 MPG, followed by Grant Williams at 18.7 MPG - Robert Williams at 17.0 MPG and Semi Ojeleye with 15.3 MPG.

To answer my own question, I believe the Celtics boss is covering the middle road - having Brad play and develop all four youngsters, while showing potential trade partners what these guys can do. The small 3-game sample shows Pritchard and Williams III as the players that stand out, either as trade bait or potential, solid rotation guys for Boston. Rob's per-36-minutes stats, always impressive, show 16.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG,  4.2 SPG and 3.2 BPG.

So what's the deal on the trade front. The season-ending injury to Brooklyn's Spencer Dinwiddie may take the Nets out of any Jame Harden sweepstakes. My stand on any Boston/Houston deal would not include any of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart - which means it probably won't happen.

However, if Kemba Walker's knee woes are more serious than advertised, his earnings would be needed to even start the necessary salary-matching. The remainder of the money sent Houston's way would be from the fledgling players already mentioned - maybe a veteran or two - and draft picks. As unlikely as The Beard-coming-to-Beantown may sound, don't rule it out.

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