Maine Celtics forward Tony Snell Photo courtesy Maine Celtics.

The 2023-24 NBA G League season is officially underway. Maine returns to the Portland Expo this Friday, Nov. 17, for its home opener, followed by a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 19. This year’s roster is stacked with unprecedented talent, thanks to a league rule change.

G League teams are now allowed to roster up to 13 players (not including assignment players) – 10 G Leaguers and up to three Two-Ways, a step up from the 12-man roster maximum in years past. Armed with an extra Two-Way and a roster full of players motivated to break into the NBA, the Maine Celtics are gearing up for a strong season.

Maine Celtics Head Coach Blaine Mueller. Photo courtesy Maine Celtics.

Two-Way center Neemias Queta will be out for the season opener as he remains with Boston and recovers from a foot injury. Boston sent down reinforcements to make up for it, though, as rookie Jordan Walsh will be with Maine to kick off the G League Showcase. Celtics fans can expect to see the 38th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft up in Maine quite a bit this season as he settles into the lifestyle of a professional basketball player and develops his skillset.

Health provided, Maine’s ideal starting five would be comprised of the three Two-Ways – Queta, JD Davison, and Nathan Knight – with DJ Steward and Tony Snell filling out the lineup. Those who have followed the G League for years know how hectic roster and lineup construction can be during the season, but the Celtics have laid the foundation of a deep, versatile squad that can withstand assignments, recalls, foul trouble, injuries and more. Let’s run through the roster and highlight the position groups that coach Mueller has at his disposal.


Maine Celtics Two-Way guard JD Davison Photo courtesy Maine Celtics.

Backcourt depth is a strength of the Maine roster. Led by Davison, Maine has a dynamic group of guards that can shift on or off the ball depending on lineup configurations. Davison can get into the paint at will, finish with touch around the basket and plays a pass-first style that keeps his teammates involved in the offense. DJ Steward and Donald Carey can fill the other guard spot when Davison leads the charge, providing secondary playmaking and shot creation alongside the Two-Way point guard. The high-flying Jordan Jackson adds even more explosiveness to the backcourt and relentless energy defensively and on the glass. Davison has the tools at his disposal to take a developmental leap as he looks to develop both as a player and leader in his second season with Maine.


Coach Mueller’s puzzle pieces have neatly fallen into place on the wing depth chart.

Rookie Jordan Walsh will sit atop the pecking order whenever Boston sends him to Maine on assignment, using the G League as a space to explore and develop his offensive repertoire. Jordan Schakel fills the role of a floor-spacer and pick-and-roll ball-handler, offering some playmaking relief for the guards as a distributor on the wing, while a couple of Boston’s Exhibit 10 signings have a prime opportunity to produce in front of them. In Taylor Funk’s case, the rookie wing can provide a shooting and interior finishing punch to the second unit and give the backup guards a versatile threat out of ball-screens. For Brandon Slater, energy, rebounding and defense will be the name of the game – the strong-bodied 6-foot-6 forward impacts the game defensively and makes the “hustle plays” Celtics fans have come to know and love.


Maine Celtics Two-Way forward Nathan Knight Photo courtesy Maine Celtics.

A common ability amongst Maine’s crop of forwards this season? Bucket-getting.

Two-Way forward Nathan Knight, a prolific scorer in college and in his two appearances at the G League level, has an opportunity to take charge of the Celtics offense as the top scoring option. Knight can play inside or out on the perimeter thanks to a tight handle, displaying impressive change-of-pace and complicated gather steps on the way to the rim for a player his size. Whether it’s as a face-up, spot-up or ball-screen threat, Knight knows how to put the ball in the hoop.

The ever-ready Tony Snell currently slots in as Maine’s starting four-man, giving Mueller a security blanket at forward. An all-time great free throw shooter, deadeye 3-point marksman and high-effort rebounder, Snell also has a steadying presence on the floor beyond his box score production. The patience, poise and “next play” mentality Snell brings to the table are imperative qualities for a young, developing team, and the wily veteran provides that. Jaiden Delaire, a rookie 6-foot-9 forward out of North Granby, Conn. is sitting alongside a prime example of what it takes to last as a pro hooper.


Maine Celtics Two-Way center Neemias Queta Photo courtesy Maine Celtics.

Physical size and rim protection were strengths for the Maine Celtics in 2022-23, and that looks to have carried over into 2023-24 with a new cast of big men.

Although Queta is sidelined with a foot injury, the Celtics have Boston Exhibit 10 signee Kylor Kelley to man the middle in Queta’s place. Last season with Raptors 905, Kelley amassed 1.3 blocks in just 15.3 minutes per game, swatting away a sizeable percentage of the shots opposing teams attempted with him as the primary or help-side defender. Behind Kelley is James Banks III, another G League veteran with remarkable shot-blocking production; Banks posted 1.9 blocks in 18.7 minutes per game with the Texas Legends last season, adding 2.6 assists on top of the formidable defense. Once Queta returns to action, the Maine Celtics will be three-deep with imposing physicality, scheme versatility and interior defensive presence.

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