Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens answered questions from the media about the new NBA season. The Celtics will play against the Philadelphia 76ers tonight as the 2018-19 season tips off.
Q: Everyone’s back, you re-signed Marcus Smart and there’s no contract issues and it seems like this is the team you kind of wanted since you’ve been here. How do you focus on this could be a special year this year?
A: “Yeah, that’s why we have such a focus on playing well and playing as well as you can and realizing it’s still a long season and there’s going to be a lot of bumps in the road. There’s going to be some times where you’re feeling better about yourself than you should and trying to avoid that and moving on and trying to become the best version of ourselves.
“We‘ve got to reintegrate guys, I think that’s going to be the early part of the challenge because of how it affects everybody from a playing standpoint. So, we’ve just got to do the best that we can to make sure we’re all moving in one direction, we’re all on the same page and we recognize that some nights are going to be our nights and some nights are going to be other guys’ nights. But, collectively, we can have a good team if we keep the course.”
Q: So, it’s a great problem to have too much depth as opposed to not a lot of depth?
A: “I think you always want more depth. The reality is when we were playing in the playoffs last year, we probably didn’t have as many curveballs we could throw because we had a number of guys; not only did we have a number of guys out, we didn’t have to decide if anyone was inactive or not by the end of it.
“I think anytime you have more depth, you have more options. But, the other side of that is, when you don’t have as much everyone knows what they’re going to get to do every night. That’s the challenging part. We’re all empathetic to that part, but at the same time the main thing is to win the next game.”
Q: In this league now, teams have gotten good at resting their players. I don’t think you’ve ever had that chance before? What about this year? Is that something you’ll look into?
A: “It’s happened organically. We’ve done that with Al (Horford) on a number of occasions the last couple of years, Kyrie (Irving) on a couple of occasions. The most important thing: if there’s something where a person needs that, a day off from a health standpoint, then they’ll get it. That’s probably a health situation that’s been decided medical-wise where it’s been decided in advance. But, if we’re all healthy and all given the green light, then we’ll play, but see how we’re doing as the season goes along and see how it all adds up.”
Q: Is there a plan for Gordon and Kyrie to play in back-to-backs in November?
A: “Yeah, the plan is for them to play in back-to-backs. Gordon (Hayward) will probably be a little bit limited early, not in any big way, just because he’s been for so long, the 13 months.”
Q: Daniel Theis’ season got cut short by surgery? How does he look to you?
A: “It’s not just reintegrating just Kyrie and Gordon, it’s Daniel as well. I thought he had a really good year for us last year. He’s playing a position for us where we’ll play Al(Horford) there sometimes, we’ll play him, we’ll play (Aaron) Baynes, we’ll play Robert Williams, Guerschon(Yabusele), it’s a position where some nights those guys will get great opportunities and other nights they won’t. One of the things you appreciate most about Daniel is he’s just going to come and be him every night. You know exactly what you’re getting on both ends of the floor.”
The 2018-19 NBA season tips off tonight on Sky Sports, the new home of the NBA in the UK with more than 170 live games throughout the season. Tune in to Sky Sports Arena from 1:00am to watch all the live action.