Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
It’s easy to read too much into the lineup possibilities as the Celtics showed a few combinations at the end of practice, with an Avery Bradley-Jordan Crawford combo leading the white team. But Stevens cautioned that he’d be mixing and matching, especially with a burst of exhibition games next week.
“I think, as far as playing time, starters, all of that stuff, this will be trial week,” said Stevens. “That will not be determined by Monday night['s first exhibition game against the Raptors]. And most likely we’ll flip that around throughout the week and really use it as we’re trying to get better.”
Pressed on if he wanted to have firm lineups by the end of camp, Stevens added, “It’s funny because the best teams I’ve coached have done it both ways. I don’t know if there’s an exact answer. I think anybody would say you’d rather have it where you knew exactly who was playing, the rotation, the minutes, all of that stuff. But then again there’s some positives to not knowing that.”
As for how he comes up with scrimmage lineups, Stevens noted, “You mix in different lineups you might want to see. Or get guys appropriate rest. You factor in all of that. It’s an interesting time because, if I had been here for six years, I’d probably be more focused on the lineups. Right now I’m more focused on making sure we get in what we need to get in.”
ESPN Boston – Practice: Stevens, Wallace rooting for Sox
As a backdrop to a Boston sports scene packed with excitement and championship aspirations, the Celtics are the lone local team that aren’t currently contending for a title. On a day where the Red Sox took a 2-0 series lead over the Rays, the Bruins looking great against the Detroit Red Wings at the Garden, and the Patriots going for a 5-0 start, the Celtics held practice at Waltham simply trying to figure out who they are. The good news is that we all knew this once the C4 was brought to the team this summer. But don’t call it a rebuild as Stevens notes in Forsberg’s practice report:
During camp in Newport, the catchphrase for players was “attention to detail” when describing how Stevens operated. Presented with that information, Stevens passed the praise to his staff. “I kinda laugh when you talk about my attention to detail because then I go into [assistant] Ron [Adam's] office or Jay [Larranaga's] office and they add 15 more layers of it. Then it’s just like whittling down what you can actually get done in a day. But we are spending a lot of time on the little things and that’s important, especially with a young team. That’s one of the reasons why I was brought in was, initially, to be a part of the building stages of a program. I don’t use the word ‘rebuild,’ never use the word ‘rebuild.’ Every year you’re building something. You’re just building and building.”
Like it or not, this is the reality for the once mighty Celtics. They’re not discussing things like “we just need to stay healthy by the time the playoffs start,” or “we need to figure out who can be the first sub for KG.” Right now, they don’t even know what their roles are at all. With some logical guessing, one could assume what a starting lineup would be. But even Coach Stevens has stated to not put too much emphasis into what lineups he trots out there all week during the first preseason games. And there are several of them this week.
This is actually a fun time right now to be a fan. In this regard, we can all watch how this team gets built and molded literally from the foundation. Sure, it’s always, ALWAYS better to be rooting for a legit title contender but there are positives to watching a team get molded like this, especially if you’re a hardcore hoops/Celtics fan. So while Stevens talks about simply getting adjusting to things like advancing the ball to halfcourt after a time out instead of having to go full court like in college, or guys like Gerald Wallace preferring to simply know his role at this point, we get to see every step along the way. That’s not entirely a bad thing, you just need to be a logical, patient and big time fan to be excited to see how it all develops.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Bedtime story: Stevens focused on sleep | Boston Globe – Player roles, playing time all up in the air for Celtics | Denver Nuggets’ dismissal of George Karl as coach represents new trend (Sunday Notes) | Boston Herald – Ainge drills home point on Stevens | CSNNE – Celtics keep energy on after off day | Wallace brings veteran presence to Celtics | MWDN – Celtics Saturday practice report: Big week upcoming for setting rotations