Brad Stevens will take his time tinkering with lineups

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Don't assume that the starting five on Monday will be the one on opening night.

Coach Brad Stevens is brand new to this team and a lot of players are brand new to the team as well.  In addition, the starting point guard is hurt and two mainstays in the starting rotation are gone.  So nobody really has any clear clue about who will be starting, what rotations will be used, and who plays well with other players.

Training camp was about drills and conditioning and maybe getting to know each other better, but that doesn't mean that they know how each player will react in game situations.  So expect Stevens to tinker and experiment and generally treat preseason like a series of organized practices.

Brad Stevens calls upcoming preseason games 'trial week' for Boston Celtics starting 5 |

For the scrimmaging reporters saw, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green worked on separate units, a sign that little could be gleaned about any potential starting lineup. In fact, Stevens, suggesting he has tinkered with lineups in practice to get a better understanding of how players will mesh, said he hasn’t yet settled on a first unit. Despite the preseason opener against Toronto coming Monday night, he might not do so soon. "I think as far as playing time, starters, all of that stuff, this will be trial week," said the coach, referring to a week with four preseason games. "That will not be determined by Monday night. And most likely we’ll flip that around throughout the week and really use it as continuing to try to get better."

In fact, Stevens indicated that he might not even consider the opening night starting five to be the "normal" starters.  He might stick with a regular rotation or he might keep right on tinkering throughout the year.  I'd personally bet on the latter.  This is, after all, a year for development and growth.

Some young guys will have to earn their time and/or get their sea legs under them.  Some combinations of guys will naturally work out better than others and that might not be evident right away (despite the endless amounts of data that Stevens and Drew Cannon analyze).  Plus Rondo's return will eventually shift things around as well.

So take your time Brad.  Everyone understands that this is a process.  It will be interesting to see who starts (and finishes) games, but we'll be prepared if that changes night to night.

P.S. it is almost time for basketball, who's excited?

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