A Quick Look At How CARMELO Views The Boston Celtics Roster

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Seven

For those of you who aren’t familiar, ESPN’s 538 has a projection model named CARMELO that is used to identify “similar players throughout NBA history and uses them to develop a probabilistic forecast of what a current NBA player’s future might look like”. You can go to the site and plug in any player from your favorite team here. Naturally, since this is the slowest of slow times on the NBA calendar, I spent my morning plugging the Celtics roster into this tool and I figured why not share what comes up and give my take on it. Obviously as with everything projections these should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s not as if 538 is always right, but it is pretty interesting to see how our squad projects. We already know Vegas has them at 57.5 wins (my annual official win prediction will come with the season preview blog) which just so happens to be the second highest total in the league so we know everyone expects them to be good. Alright, let’s jump in because some of these projections may surprise you.

We’ll begin with the starters

Kyrie Irving

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Alright a few things stand out right off the bat. The first is the category CARMELO has Kyrie in. If he’s healthy, I’d say it’s a bit concerning they see him as a borderline All Star. I’m going to need Kyrie to be a whole hell of a lot better than that if we want to get to title contention. Something tells me he’ll be a little better than borderline, after making it in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Who exactly is going to dethrone him in the East?

I’m also confused as to why CARMELO says that 6’3 is a bad height for a point guard? Excuse me? I hate to discredit this whole model in the very first player we brought up, but that makes no sense to me.

The other thing that stood out was his 5 year market value. I would say $189.4M is about right, and it wouldn’t shock me if that’s what his extension ends up looking like. This will be important as we move forward with a couple other guys


Jaylen Brown

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Again, the height issue makes no sense to me. At 6’7 I would say Jaylen’s size actually works to his advantage. You can play him at the two or three, he can guard multiple positions, so I’m going to ignore that. I’ll admit, seeing that red dot next to his FT% hurts, but that’s more a me problem than anything else. To see that he projects to still struggle there kills me.

In terms of his category, I would say “up and comer” is about right. I’ve seen some Celtics fans talk about how their entire starting five could end up being All Stars, and I think we need to pump the breaks a little bit. Jaylen showed tremendous growth from Year 1 to Year 2, but he’s not at an All Star level just yet. He’s on the path, but there is definitely still more room to grow. At just 22 I would say this is accurate.

The big question that Ainge will have to deal with relatively soon, is what is Jaylen’s market? Well, his 5 year market value of $140.5M may seem like a lot to some, but if he continues to grow and develop I could absolutely see him getting that. And while I don’t necessarily love the group of players that are listed as most comparable, it’s safe to say that whenever the time does come to pay Jaylen, Wyc is going to have to open up his wallet big time.

Jayson Tatum

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Like you, I could not wait to see what Tatum’s breakdown was and let me tell you I was not disappointed. Category All Star? Yup. Basically no category in which he has a red dot? Thank you very much. A 5 year market value of $320.4M?!?!?!?!? Holy fucking shit. You want to see the projections of a fucking stud, this is it. This is really nothing new for anyone that watched him last year, but to see the nerds back up my extreme homerism was a nice reassurance to always trust my heart.

Gordon Hayward

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OK so it’s clear that CARMELO was created by a bitter Jazz fan right? I don’t want to tell them how to do their job, but the last time Gordon Hayward was healthy and played, he was an All Star. Why should that change? It’s true, he will be a key role player, but I feel like this is a classic troll job, sort of like when Chris Carter called him a role player. It appears that everyone, including 538, has forgotten just how good Hayward is since he missed all last year.

I also expect him to be better than 2002 Grant Hill, who averaged like 16 a game on 42% shooting. Can’t say I love his 5 year market projection either, considering he’s going to make $60M in about two years, and I’m pretty sure if he shows to be healthy and were to hit the market this summer, he’s get a shit ton of more cash than that.

Al Horford

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No problems here with Horford. In case you didn’t know, Al Horford is in fact good, so I feel like he’s properly rated here. I know people will look right to his 5 year value and scream about how he’s overpaid, but those people are stupid. He got what the market dictated and all he’s done since he’s been here is been a main part of one of the best teams in the East.

I will say, CARMELO is not kind to how his WAR projects over the next few years. I mean he’s 32 so this isn’t exactly news, but it’s surprising since his style of play isn’t really dependent on his athleticism. Pretty sure his ability to knock down threes and play defense shouldn’t rapidly decline like this, but it is something to keep an eye on. He has 2 years left on his deal so we may not even have to worry about those mid 2020s years, and if we do I would guess Horford comes back on a team friendly deal, certainly not nearly $30M


Marcus Smart

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Again, 6’4 for a point guard is bad? So weird. Obviously Smart projects to have red dots in every area you already expect. Poor shooting and high turnovers isn’t exactly news for anyone who tortures themselves watching Smart play. I found it interesting to see that they have him as an up and comer, because it feels like he is who he is at this point in his career. How much different can he get if his offense never comes around? That’s still a very valuable player, it’s not as if one day things will just click. Smart is who he is.

The shocking part of his breakdown was his 5 year market value of $134.2M. Uhhhhhhhh what? Am I to believe his value is that of a max player that Ainge got for $13M? Everything coming up Ainge!!!

Also, shouts to the Fat man.

Terry Rozier

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Not surprising that CARMELO sees Rozier and Smart as similar type players, but it was interesting to see they view his market value a good $20M+ lower. If he has another year like he did last year, there’s going to be some team out there that buys the Brad Stevens magic and will want him to be their starting point guard. I can’t say I loved his player comparisons, and Reggie Jackson seemed a little too real and something that I’m not exactly ready to call a good thing. Reggie Jackson is frustrating as hell to watch, just ask any Thunder or Pistons fan.

What’s true is that blue dot in Terry’s TO%. One of the biggest improvements last year was his ability to keep his TOs down despite a bump in usage, and with Terry it always comes back to if he can stay in control.

Marcus Morris

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Scrub?!?!?! Jesus CARMELO you ruthless bitch. How can he be considered a scrub? Did the system make this decision solely based on watching like one random first half where he went 1-7 or something? We all have our issues with Morris at times, but calling him a scrub is a little harsh.

It also surprised me to see his market value so low, because I feel like everyone could use that type of scorer off the bench, and teams often pay a lot more than that for that type of production.

Aron Baynes

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A negative market value made me laugh, but other than that this was a pretty accurate prediction from Baynes. The guy does two things extremely well that are super important to this team. He rebounds at an elite level, and he is one of the best defensive big men in the league. That’s not hyperbole, you can look that shit up.

The one gripe I have is that 3pt frequency. If the end of last season was any indication, Baynes is probably going to lead the league in Center 3PA. I don’t blame CARMELO for not realizing that, mostly because I can’t believe it myself.


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Hilarious that his only good blue dot was on his weight though. Sometimes thiccccness cannot be denied.

Daniel Theis

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Theis was one of the best surprises from last year, and considering he’s like the 3rd or 4th big on this roster you could certainly do a lot worse. I would say he’s accurately rated as a rotation player, and the fact that he has a bargain deal with a market value of $30M doesn’t hurt either. To this day I am a firm believer that This makes a difference in that CLE series, and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s a key rotation big for the foreseeable future. His skillset is exactly what this team needs and where the NBA is headed.

Semi Ojeleye

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Damn, what’s with the random hate on Semi? Guy might be the nicest dude in the league and I feel like calling him a project is a little harsh. You want to call him a project offensively sure, but as a total player? He’s better than that. The guy single handedly shut down Giannis in a playoff series people forget that. There’s a strong chance I don’t fully understand this 5 year market projection because that $-25M sure seems weird. You’re telling me there isn’t positive market value for a 3 and D wing who can guard multiple positions? Fine, more for us I guess.


Also shout out to Antoine Wright who I once played against in high school and he had the quickest and coolest 50 points I’d ever seen.

Robert Williams

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I’m not exactly sure how CARMELO is able to do projections on players who haven’t played one second of NBA basketball yet, but I have no complaints. I’d say he’s an OK prospect simply because we haven’t seen anything from him outside of a 6 minute shift in Vegas. What I do care about are those blue dots next to Reb% and block%. That’s what I want out of Williams and my fingers are crossed that we get it.

As long as he shows up. That’s a big one.

Jabari Bird/Brad Wanamaker (Not Ranked)

Hey 538, pay fucking attention would ya?

Alright so what stood out to you? For me it was Smart’s market price and the confirmation that Yabu is in fact a rotation talent just like I’ve been telling you all for years. I look forward to revisiting this blog one day to see just how accurate this was, but if you’re looking to kills some time today head to that tool and fuck around with different players. It’s not a bad way to kill 30 minutes.