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.
“I would say it’s more, we’re just looking — ‘Hey, this combination might be something that we’re more interested in,’ [or] ‘This bench combination might be something that we’re interested in,’” said Stevens. “First unit [and] second unit. The one thing I’ll probably try to do is put some guys together that we think may fit together better. Whether that means they end up starting or they end up coming off the bench, I think that’s to be determined.”
Asked if he had a starting lineup in mind for Monday’s game, Stevens said, “I’ve got a couple, but I really haven’t paid a lot of focus on it. The one thing we are, we’re probably a more even team. We have a lot of depth and there’s a lot of guys that may complement other guys better. It kind of depends on who you want to go with that would be more of the central figures and then who complements them best.”
“I haven’t treated this like a regular season game,” first-year head coach Brad Stevens said following practice on Sunday. “I haven’t gotten too in-depth into the opponent. I’ll look at that a little bit, but this is much more about us.”
The Celtics roster has been overhauled with a drastically different look than seasons past. After less than a week of training camp, Stevens is still testing out rotations. Monday’s starting five could be completely different than Wednesday’s, and so on. With seven new faces (not counting training camp invites), he is using this time to figure out the best fit for the Celtics.
“We’re going to be tinkering with lineups quite a bit,” he said. “I don’t know what we’ll do in games two, three, and four, but I’m guessing we will not start the same lineups. I’m guessing we will really shift things around. … The first game I won’t look to play guys extended, extended minutes.”
I got into this a little bit on last night’s Celtics Stuff Live show, but this preseason… and the first few months of the regular season for that matter… are going to be one giant science experiment for Brad Stevens and his staff. They are all trying to gather enough data as quickly as possible to figure out what will work and what won’t. The rest of this calendar year will quite possibly serve as an extended preseason for this team as it tries to run as many numbers together to figure out which players work well together, which don’t, and which are expendable as we move towards the trade deadline, and then, the summer.
So it’s very important heading into tonight’s game to try not to draw firm conclusions about anything. Of course, that’s not going to be easy because we all have a natural tendency to want to do that, but just know that no matter what you see tonight, chances are it will change on Wednesday.
Still, I AM looking forward to at least getting our first glimpse at the style we’ll see out of the Stevens-led Celtics. In speaking to Mike Gorman last night, we all felt like this was going to be more of an up-and-down team that would get out in transition when it could. The Celtics will have to capitalize on the chaos of transition basketball to get its best scoring opportunities, rather than the calculating precision of half-court sets run by two future Hall of Famers and an All Star point guard.
Gorman did say that this team might be surprisingly good on defense (surprising being relative to your expectations, but still, better than most people expect). When you couple that with the youth and a few decent rebounders, the Celtics will try to get out and run. That should play to Jeff Green’s strengths in the open floor, which we all know will be important to the team’s chances of winning whatever few ball games they’ll win.
So grab your clip boards, put on your most scholarly of spectacles, and prepare yourself for the data-gathering extravaganza of pre-season basketball!!
Practice photo: Chris Forsberg
Page 2: Sullinger is especially eager to get back at it
“Every day, (I am) getting in better shape,” he said following practice on Sunday. “I can tell throughout practice. I’m starting to survive a little bit more as time goes, so I’ve just got to keep working.”
[...] “Everything feels great, but conditioning, I’ve got to get in better shape,” he said. “Being six to seven months off and just coming right back in and trying to play with these guys that’ve been working out all summer, played the whole NBA season last year, I’m just a tier under everybody right now as far as conditioning.”
Sully proved how important he was to this team last year, and he’s going to be especially important this year.
To me, it’s very simple: Sullinger is a pretty damn good rebounder. The Celtics will also be missing a lot more shots because the shooters just aren’t as good as they were last year. That means Sullinger will have to crash the boards and keep more possessions alive (and score a few points while he’s at it).
With the older legs gone, the Celtics can afford to crash the glass a little more without worrying about giving up easy transition baskets. So expect Sully, when 100%, to attack the offensive glass a bit more. The Celtics will need those extra possessions and put-backs this year, giving Sully added value to this team.
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