Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

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Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

Post by bobheckler on Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:21 am

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2018/09/bulpett_even_with_championship_contender_brad_stevens_has_concerns_about



Bulpett: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season



Steve Bulpett, Celtics Beat
Friday, September 21, 2018



When you gather the evidence, it’s quite easy to come to the conclusion that life is pretty damn sweet for Brad Stevens these days.

Stevens returns a team that went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and while offensive anxiousness caused the Celtics to shoot themselves out of a trip to The Finals — 34.1 percent from the floor, including a hideous 7-for-39 on treys — nature’s healing power is solving that problem.


Returning from injury are Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, two guys who can drop 20 points at the bat of an eyelash. The Bostonians will have an abundance of firepower.

But league rules are very specific about requiring member clubs to play the other end of the floor, as well, and it would appear that Stevens and staff are prepared to remind the lads of this.

The coach may be in an enviable position, but uneasy lies the head that’s expected to wear the Eastern Conference crown.

“What concerns me?” said Stevens, mulling the question for a moment. “Well, I think you always have concerns that, you know, for us, we’ve played two straight seasons eight months all the way ’til late May. It’s not like playing into the Finals, like people talk about, but it’s pretty close.

“And the idea that when you have a team back that was so good defensively that we don’t skip steps. I’d say that’s the No. 1 concern I’ve got. I’ve watched teams before have really good years and then kind of go through the motions on that end of the court. And we can’t do that.”

Offense is fun when done right. Defense is hard and grinding work when done right. But in that it may lead to easy offense and is critical in its own right, the Celtics, with all their glittery scoring options, will be hounded into being hounds on the defensive end.

For all their highlight reel scoring, it’s important to note that Golden State had the third best field goal defense last season.

The Celtics were second best.

The area in which Stevens may have his most difficult task since saying yes to Danny Ainge five years ago is figuring out how best to employ his riches. Not only are Irving and Hayward back — and people somehow keep forgetting about Daniel Theis, too — but Stevens has significantly better versions of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier now than those which took the floor in Cleveland last Oct. 17.

How the pieces best fit when there are just 240 minutes to spend in any given game will be a challenge.

Far from some of his earlier days here when skill levels were lacking and finding basic basketball nourishment was a nightly chef’s surprise, Stevens now has to see which combinations of quality ingredients make the best soup.

“Obviously everybody’s going to want to play,” he said. “And all the guys are saying the right things, because that’s who they are. They’re good people. They’re going to go out and compete and play hard, and they want to win first and foremost. But that doesn’t mean there’s not going to be times during the year where guys wish they were playing more.

“But at the end of the day, if you want to be a part of a special team, you’ve got to have a special team. And we think we’ve got a lot of good players that really complement each other well. We’ll find out in time if we can be a special team.

“I’m not really worried about that. I mean, the competition is so good. It’s whoever plays the best together and everything else. I mean, the priority has got to be, from our standpoint, winning. And so that’s where you start with your decision-making, and guys that complement each other the best will find time together, and we’ll figure that stuff out.”

Not that there’s a lot of time to figure. The Celts will practice twice on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday will be a light day for some and an off day for others as they head to Carolina to play the Hornets Friday.

“The three weeks (for preseason) is fine, but the two practices and then an exhibition game is a little rough,” Stevens said. “But that’s just part of it. We’ll deal with it. And the exhibition games for us count as practices in our minds anyway, so we’ll move forward.”

There will be some difficult days and difficult decisions ahead for Stevens. But it’s fair to say, too, that a majority of his NBA peers would love to have his trouble.



bob


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Re: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

Post by wideclyde on Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:39 am

Coaches always have "concerns" going into every new season. It is just part of their job.

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Re: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

Post by worcester on Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:59 am

It's not like the days when Red had to sell tickets, popcorn, and get enough fans in the seats to be able to squeak out a meager payroll to get his players on the court.
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Re: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

Post by dboss on Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:25 pm

The season will be grueling so every player must be ready to play.

I think it will take a while to see how various combinations work together. Hayward is the huge additions. Last year Baynes turned out to be the starting center on this team in most games.

This year that could change.

The Celtics have tons of options

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Re: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

Post by cowens/oldschool on Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:04 am

dboss wrote:The season will be grueling so every player must be ready to play.

I think it will take a while to see how various combinations work together.  Hayward is the huge additions.  Last year Baynes turned out to be the starting center on this team in most games.  

This year that could change.  

The Celtics have tons of options


With the arrival of Williams to add to Al, Baynes and Theis I’m looking forward to some bigman bully ball.
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Re: Even with championship contender, Brad Stevens has concerns about upcoming season

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